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Full text of "Observations on popular antiquities, chiefly illustrating the origin of our vulgar customs, ceremonies and superstitions : Arranged and rev., with additions"

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" Multitude) Vulgi, more m.igis quam judicio, post .ilium alius quasi prudentiorem sequkur." 

SALLUST. ad Cx.s. 
" Somnia, Terrores magicos, Miracula, Sagas, 

Nocturnos Lemures, Portentaque Thessala rides?" HOHAT. EplST. Lib. ii. 

" Vet in the Vulgar this weak humor's bred, 
They'll sooner be with idle Customs led, 
Or fond opinions, such as they have store, 
Than learn of Reason or of Venue's lore." WYTHERS. 
















n Page 

Lady in the Straw -------------- 1 

Groaning Cake and Cheese 6 

Christening Customs ------------- 11 


Betrothing Customs ------------- 20 

Ring and Bride Cake ------------- 31 

Rush Rings ---------------- 38 

Bride Favours --------------- 39 

Bride Maids -------.-_-_-_- 42 

Bridegroom Men --__-__------_ 44 

Strewing Herbs, Flowers, or Rushes, before the Bridegroom and 
Bride in their way to Church : as also the wearing Nosegays on 

the occasion ----'---------_- 45 

Rosemary and Bays at Weddings ---------- 49 

Garlands at Weddings ------------- 52 

Gloves at Weddings ------------- 54 

Garters at Weddings ------------- 55 

Starves, Points, and Bride Laces at Weddings ------ 58 

Bride-Knives -----_-_-__.___ 59 

The Marriage Ceremony, or Part of it, performed antiently in the 

Church-Porch, or before the Door of the Church ----- 61 

Drinking Wine in the Church at Marriages ------ 63 

The Nuptial Kiss in the Church ---------- 67 

Care Cloth ---------------- &8 

VOL. n. b 



Bride Ale, called also Bride- Bush, Bride-Stake, Bidding, and 

Bride-Wain ---- 70 

Winning the Kail, in Scotland termed Broose, in Westmoreland 

called Riding for the Ribbon 77 

Foot-Ball Money --- - - 

Torches used at Weddings 80 

Musick at Weddings - - - 8 ' 

Sports at Weddings - - - 

Divinations at Weddings - ___------- 86 

Flinging the Stocking - - ---------- 

Sack-Posset --- -------- 93 

Morning after the Marriage ____------- 96 

Dunmow Flitch of Bacon ------------ 98 

Of the Saying that the Husbands of false Women wear Horns, or 
are Cornutes ---------------101 

Of the Word CUCKOLD 1 1 3 

The Passing Bell, called also the Soul Bell 122 

Watching with the Dead, called in the North of England the Lake 

Wake - 139 

Setting Salt or Candles on the dead Body -___-_-i46 

Funeral Entertainments called Arvals or Arvils - - - - - 149 

Sin Eaters - 155 

Mortuaries ---------------- 157 

Following the Corps to the Grave, Carrying Evergreens on that 

occasion in the Hand, together with the use of Psalmody - - 157 
Torches and Lights at Funerals ------_--_i81 

Funeral Sermons --------------134 

Black used in Mourning at Funerals _-_-____ 186 

Pall and Underbearers ..-_..-___.. jgg 

Doles, and inviting the Poor at Funerals ....... j 9 1 

Church Yards -------------- -194 

The Custom of laying Flat Stones in our Churches and Church Yards 202 

Garlands in Country Churches, and strewing Flowers on the Graves 203 

Mynnyng Days, Mynde Days, or Month? s Mind - - - - - 213 




Pledging - - 223 

Healths or Toasts ---------_.._. 233 

Supernaculum --.--_.... ..... 237 

' Buzza, to Buzza One ............. 239 

Under the Rose -----......... 240 

Hob or Nob ................ 242 

Ale House or Tavern SIGNS ----..--..,244 

BARBERS' SIGNS ---------_...._... 251 

TOBACCO IN ALE HOUSES -.---...--_-..._ 255 


NOTICES concerning SPORTS and GAMES ------------ 273 

All-hid ------..-_.---_.. 275 

Archery ----..---........ 276 

Barley-Break --.-........... 277 

Blind-Man's Buff .............. 280 

Blow-Point ................ 2^,1 

Boxing ................. 281 

Buckler Play ............... 282 

Bull and Bear Baiting ............ 283 

Casting of Stones ---..__ _______ 286 

Cat and Dog ............... 286 

Cent-Foot _-___.. 287 

Cherry-Pit ,-.------------_ 283 

Cockatt ................. 288 

Curcuddoch, Curcuddie ............ 289 

Drawing Dun out t>j the Mire ......... - 289 

Draw Gloves ............... 290 

Duck and Drake .............. 290 

Foot-Ball ................ 29 1 

Goffer Golf -...---.-.---. 291 

Goose Riding ...... ......... 292 

Handy-Dandy ............... 293 

Hot Cockles ............... 294 

Hunt the Slipper .............. 294 

Loggats ----------_--__-. 394 




Meritot, otherwise Shuggy Shew, or a Swing 296 

Muss 29S 

Nine Men's Morris, or Mcrrils 

Nine Holes - 298 

Nine Pins - - - 

Pall-Mall 2 " 

Pcaric ------ 300 

Piccadilly, or Picardily - - 30 

Pricking at the Belt, or Girdle ; called also Fast and Loose - - 300 

Prison Bars, vulgarly called Prison Base - - - 301 

Races 301 

Diversion of the Ring ----- - 302 

Ruffe 302 

Running the Figure of Eight 303 

Scotch and English ----- 303 

Scotch Hoppers 304 

See-Saw ----- -.....- 304 

Shooting the Black Lad .-_-_. 304 

Shove-Groat - - - 304 

Shuffle-Board ---- --305 

Spinny Wye ----------.-___ 305 

Tappie Tousie ............... 305 

Tick Tack - 307 

Tray Trip ---------------- 30? 

Trundling the Hoop ---------____ 307 

Weapon Showing --------.-__._ 308 

Whipping the Top, alias Wirle-Gigge - - - - - -- - 308 

Wrestling --------- -------310 

POPULAR NOTICES concerning CARDS ------------ 311 

SPORTS of SAILORS - - - - ~ --------.____ 313 

FAIRS 315 

Or.t/ie MEANING of the OLD SAW, 

" Five Score of Men, Money, and Pins, 

Si.r Score of all other things." - - . - _ _ _ 324 

FAIRY MYTHOLOGY -----------______ 327 

Robin Goodfellow, alias Pucke, alias Hob-goblin - _ - - . 351 



POPULAR NOTIONS concerning the APPARITION of the DEVIL -----, 352 

SORCERY or WITCHCRAFT ----- ._--_--___. 357 

Fascination of Witches -------- _ _ ... 399 

Toad-Stone - ------_.____ 404 

The Sorcerer or Magician ........... 408 

GHOSTS or APPARITIONS ----------._____ 4 1 3 

GIPSIES - . ... 43J 


Cucking Stool ............. _ _ 44 1 

Branks -.--......-...... 445 

Drunkard's Cloak ------_____.__ 445 

Pilliwinkes or Pyrewinkes ------_____ 445 

OMENS -------------._._____ 447 

Child' 1 s Caul - - ~ - - ....... 451 

Sneezing - - .............. 455 

Dreams ----------__.--_. 453 

The Moon --------___-____ 459 

Second Sight --------___---__ 479 

Salt falling. Spilling of Wine - -------.__ 433 

S/ioe Omens -----.-._.__.__ 433 

Looking-Glass 0ie>>s ------_______ 49] 

Tingling of the Ears. Itching of the right Eye, Kc. - - - - 493 

Omens relating to the Cheek, Nose, and Mouth .--- -.495 

Head Omens -----------____ 493 

Hand and Finger Nails -------.____ 499 

Candle Omens ----------__.___ 502 

Omens at the Bars of Grates, Purses, and Coffins - - - - 504 

The Howling of Dogs --------...,_ $QQ 

Cats, Bats, and Mice ------- ...... 503 

Crickets, Flies - - - ^^ , 510 

Bobin Bed-Breast - - \ x -\ -.-.---__.. -512 

Swallows, Martins, Wrens, Lady Bugs, Kc. - - --__. 515 

Hare, Wolf, or Sow, crossing the Way - - - - - ,, < tr ;! 3 _ 513 

The Owl --------- .--^ ,.vv - - 593 

Bavens, Crows, Wood-Peckers, Kites, Cranes, Herons - - - 526 

Magpies, Geese, Peacocks, Doves, Kc. >- - - - .. . . 530 

Cocks, Hoopoe, Great Auk, Sfc. ------ .... .5 34 



Spiders, Snakes, Emmets, Bees, Lambkins, Kc. ..... 537 

Death Watch ..... 539 

Death Omens peculiar to Families --------- 54 1 

Corpse Candles, Fetch Lights, or Dead Men' s Candles - - - 549 

Omens among Sailors ------------- 5 aO 

Weather Omens, the Sky, Planets, &V. ....... 555 

Vegetables - - ............. 55 

Stumbling ------ .......... 560 

Knives, Scizsars, Razors, Xc. -----------561 

Of finding or losing things ----------- 562 

Names -_-----.---------- 563 

Moles - 564 

CHARMS - - - - s- 566 

Saliva or Spitting -------------- 569 

Charm in Odd Numbers ------------574 

Physical Charms ...... - ....... 573 

Love Charms ......... .-__.- 602 

Rural Charms -_----__----_- 605 

Characts ------_---_--_-_ 613 

Amulets ----_---.._.. -__618 

DIVINATION ---_ ..... ....__...__ 520 

Divining Rod ------_-_-._.__ 622 

Divination by Virgilian, Homeric, or Bible Lots ----- 625 

- by the Speal or Blade Bone -------- 628 

- by the erecting of Figures Astrological ----- 630 

Chiromancy, or Manual Divination ----__-__ 637 

Onychomancy, or Onymancy, Divination by the Nails - - - 639 

Divination by Sieve and Shears ------- _ _ _ 639 

- by the Looks, Physiognomy -------- 642 

- by Onions and Faggots in Advent ...... 643 

- - - by a Green Ivie Leaf ------_-__ 545 

- by Flowers ......... .- - - 64S 


The Wandering Jew ---------____ 647 

Barnacles - - _ _ _ 


- - - 49 



The Ass .---._..._._..._ 65O 

Dark Lanterns -----.------__. 650 

That Bears form their Cubs into shape by licking them - - - 650 

Ostriches eating and digesting Iron - - ~ ------ 651 

The Phoenix ---------...___ 652 

Bird of Paradise. Pelican ----___._. -653 

The Remora ---------_--_._ 654, 

That the Camelion lives on Air only ---.-.-.-654 

The Beaver ---------.-_-__- 655 

Mole. Elephant ----------.... 656 

Ovum Anguinum ----------_.._ 656 

Salamander -------.----._- 658 

Manna ..._.. G58 

Tenth Wave and Tenth Egg -------___. 6 59 

The Swan singing before its Death ------___ 659 

Basilisk or Cockatrice -------_-__ - - 660 

Unicorn --------------___ 661 

Mandrake ---^_. _____. - - - - 661 

Rose of Jericho. Glaslonbury Thorn -------_ 664 

Various Vulgar Errors ------__.__. 664 

NECK VERSE _-.__,, -667 

BISHOP in Me PAN -----------.__-... 669 

DINING with DUKE HUMPHREY -------_-,_.. 670 

MILLER'S THUMB ------------.,.,._._ 673 

TURNING CAT in PAN -----------,.,_.. 674 

PUTTING THE MILLER'S EYE OUT --------,,.__ 674 

To BEAR THE BELL ---------,--....__ 6 74 

TO PLUCK A CROW WITH ANY ONE ---.*-.-,__-_ 675 

OF certain other OBSCURE PHRASES and COMMON EXPRESSIONS ----- 675 
Of the PHENOMENON vulgarly called WILL, or KITTY WITH A WISP, or JACK 

WITH A LANTHORN -.-.,, r . .,_______ 6 77 




popular antiquities 

Customs auto Ceremonies* 



IT should seem that the expression of " the Lady in the Straw" meant to 
signify the Lady who is brought to bed a , is derived from the circumstance that 

* There appear to have been some ceremonies antiently used when the Lady took her Chamber. 
It is stated, that when the Queen of King Henry the Seventh took her Chamber in order to her 
delivery, " the Erles of Shrewsbury and of Kente hyld the Towelles, whan the Quene toke her 
Rightes*; and the Torches ware holden by Knightes. When she was comen into Mr great 
Chambre, she stode undrc hir Cloth of Estate : then there was ordeyned a Voide of Espices and 
swet VVyne : that dnone, myjLorde, the Queue's Chamberlain, in very goode wordes desired in the 
Queue's name, the pepul there present to pray God to sends hir the goode Owe: and so she 
departed to her inner Chambre." Strutt, vol. iii. p. 157, from a MS. in the Cotton Library. 

In " A New Dialogue, &c." 8vo. Lond. pr. by Ihon Day and William Sheres, signat. B 8, we read :_ " Yf the 
Masse and the Supper of y Lord be al one thyng, the Rightes, the Housell, the Sacramente of Christes bodye 
and bloude, and the Supper of the Lord are all one thyng." 
VOI,. II. B 


all beds were antiently stuffed with straw, so that it is synonymous with saying 
" the Lady in Bed," or that is confined to her bed b . 

It appears that even so late as King Henry the Eighth's time there ^were 
directions for certain persons to examine every night the Straw of the Kings 
Bed, that no daggers might be concealed therein. 

In " Plaine Percevall, the Peace-maker of England," printed in the time of 
Queen Elizabeth, we find an expression which strongly marks the general use 
of Straw in Beds during that reign : " These high-flying Sparks will light on the 
Heads of us all, and kindle in our Bed-Straw" 

Some have thought, but I cannot be induced to accede to the opinion, that 
the term " Lady in the Straw" takes its rise from a Straw-Mattress necessarily 
made use of during the time of delivery . 

Henry, in his History of Britain, 4to. vol. i. p. 459, tells us, that " amongst the 
antient Britons, when a Birth was attended with any difficulty, they put certain 
Girdles made for that purpose, about the Women in labour, which they ima- 
gined gave immediate and effectual relief. Such Girdles were kept with care, 
till very lately, in many families in the Highlands of Scotland. They were 
impressed with several mystical figures; and the ceremony of binding them 
about the Woman's waist, was accompanied with words and gestures, which 
shewed the custom to have been of great antiquity, and to have come originally 
from the Druids d . 

b In the old Herbals we find Descriptions of a Herb entitled "The Ladies Bed-Straw." 
c In the " Child-bearer's Cabinet," in " a rich Closet of Physical Secrets collected by the elabo- 
rate paines of four severall Students in Physick, &c." 4to. Lond. printed by Gartrude Dawson, no 
date, p. 9, we read " How, and wherewith, the Child-bed Woman's Bed ought to be furnished. 
A large Boulster, made of linnen Cloth, must be stuffed with Straw, and be spread on the ground, 
that her upper part may lye higher than her lower ; on this the woman may lye, so that she may 
seem to lean and bow, rather than to lye drawing up her feet unto her that she may receive 
no hurt." 

* Levinus Lemnius, English translat. fol. 1658, p. 27O, tells us, that " the Jewel called jEtites, 
found in an Eagle's nest, that rings with little stones within it, being applied to the Thigh of 
one that is in labour, makes a speedy and easy delivery; which thing I have found true by 

Lupton, in his second book of" Notable Things," 52, says, " &titet, called the Eagles stone, tyed to the 
left arm or ilc j it brings this benefit to Women with childj that they shall not be delivered before their time : 


The following is an extract from a rare work entitled "Wits, Fits, and 
Fancies," b. I. which I have more than once had occasion to quote : 

" A Gentlewoman in extremitie of Labour sware that if it pleased God she 
might escape Death for that once, she would never in all her life after hazard 

From an antient MS. Quarto, formerly in the Collection of the late Mr. Herbert, and now in 
my Library, dated 1475, I transcribe the following Charm, or more properly Charect, to be 
bound to the Thigh of a lying-in Woman : 

" For Woman that travelyth of Chylde 
bynd thys Wryt to her Thye. 

" In Nomine Patris g3 et Filii et Spiritus Sancti Amen. Per Virtutem Domini sint 
Medicina mei pia Crux et Passio Christi. 2J| . Vulnera quinque Domini sint Medicina mei. gg . 
Sancta Maria peperit Christum, ffi . Sancta Anna peperit Mariam. ggj . Saucta Elizabet peperit 
Johannem. . Sancta Cecilia peperit Remigium. Q3 Arepo tenet opera rotas *. |Sg . Christus 
vincit. 83 . Christus regnat. Christus dixit Lazare veni foraa. jig . Christus inaperat. QJ . 
Christus te vocat. . Mundus te gaudet. . Lex te desiderat. jig Deus ultionum Dominus. |!g . 
Deus Preliorum Dominus libera famulam tuam N. Dextra Domini fecit virtutem. a. g. 1. a. 
8J| Alpha jig et ft. . Anna peperit Mariam, 83 Elizabet precursorem, Jig Maria Dominum 
nostrum Jesum Christum, sine dolore et tristicia. O Infans sive vivus sive mortuus exi foras 83 
Christus te vocat ad lucem. 83 . Agyos. 83 Agyos. 83 Agyos. 83 Christus vincit. 83 Christua 
imperat. 83 Christus regnat. 83 Sanctus 83 Sanctus 83 Sanctus 83 Dominus Deus. 83 Christus 
qui es, qui eras, 83 et qui venturus es. 83 Amen, bhurnon 83 blictaono. 83 Christus Nazarenus 
83 Rex Judeorum fili Dei 83 miserere mei 83 Amen." 

The following Customs of Child-birth are noticed in the " Traite des Superstitions " of 
M. Thiers : 

" Lore qu'une femme est preste d'accoucher, prendre sa ceinture, "aller a 1'Eglise, Her la Cloche f 
avec cette ceinlure et la faire sonner trois cou]>s a fin que cette femme accouche heureusement. 

besides that, it brings love between the Man and the Wife : and if a Woman have a painfull Travail in the Birth 
of her Child, this stone tyed to her Tbigh, brings an easy and light Birth." 

Ibid, Book iv. 27. " Let the Woman that travels with her Child, (is in her labour,) be girded with the skin 
that a Serpent or Snake casts off, and then she will quickly be delivered." Tortola. 


f The following passage from " The Lucky Idiot, or Fools have Fortune," from the Spanish of Don Quevedo 
de Alcala, by a person of quality, 13mo. Loud. 1734, mentions this Custom in Spain : " I remember once that 
in the dead time of the night there came a Country-Fellow to my Uncle in a great haste, intreating him to give 
order for knocking- the Bells, hit Wife being in Labour, (a thing usual in SPAIN,) my good Curate then waked me 
out of a sound sleep, saying, Rise, Pedro, instantly, and ring the Belli for Child-birth quickly, quickly. I got 
up immediately, and as Fools have good memories, I retained the words quickly, quickly, and knocked the 
Bells so nimbly, that the Inhabitants of the Town really believed it had been for Fire." p. 13. 


herselfe to the like daunger againe; but being at last safely delivered, she then 
said to one of the Midwives, ' So, now put out THE HOLY CANDLE, and keepe 

it till the next time.'' 

\ i.O i I i.O' 'I' 1 ' I " ' 

Martin de Aries, Archidiacre de Pampelonne, (Tract, de Superstition.) asseure que cette Super- 
stition est fort en usage dans tout son pais : ' Superstitiosum est quod fere in omni hac nostra 
patria observatur, ut dum feniina est propinqua partui, novam [zonam ?] vel Corrigiam qua 
prsecingitur, accipientes, ad Ecclesiam occurrunt, et Cymbalum modo quo possunt Corrigia ilia 
vel Zona circumdant, et ter percutientes Cymbalum, sonum ilium credunt valere ad prosperum 
partum, quod est superstitiosum et vanum.' Tom. i. p. 320. 

Ibid. p. 3'27. " Quand une femme est en mal d'Enfant, luy faire mettre le haut de Chausse de son 
Mari, afin qu'elle accouche sans douleur." 

Ibid. p. 32!). " Mettre les pieds et les mains des Enfans dans la Glace, ou, s'il n'y a point de 
Glace, dans 1'eau froide, aussi-tost qu'ils sont nez & avant qu'ils ayent receu le Baptesme, pour 
empescher, qu'ils n'aycnt 1'onglee aux pieds ou aux mains : et leur faire boire du vin aussi-tost 
qu'ils sont venus au monde, pour empecher qu'ils ne s'enyvrent." 

Ibid. p. 327'. " Fendre un Chesne, et faire passer trois fois un Enfans par dedans, afin de la 
guerir de la Hergne. Le pere & la mere de 1'Enfant doivent estre a chacun un coste du Chesne." 

Ibid. p. 332. " Percer le toil de la Maison d'une femme qui est en travail d'Enfant, avec une 
pierre, ou avec une fleche, dont on aura tue trois animaux, s^avoir un homme, un sanglier, et 
vine ourse, de trois divers coups, pour la faire aussi-tost accoucher : ce qui arrive encore plus 
asseurement quand on perce la Maison avec la Hache ou le Sabre d'un Soldat arrache du corps 
d'un homme, avant qu'il soit tombe par terre." 

Ibid. p. 334. " Chasser les Mouches lorsqu'une femme est en travail d'Enfant, de crainte 
qu'elle n'accouche d'une fille." 

The subsequent Poem, founded on a singular custom, is from " Lucasta : Posthume Poems of 
Jlichard Lovelace, Esq r ." 8vo. Lond. 1659, p. 27. 

" To a Lady with Child lhat ask'd an old Shirt. 

" And why an honour'd ragged Shirt, that shows 
Like tatter'd Ensigns, all its Bodies blows ? 
Should it be swathed in a vest so dire, 
It were enough to set the Child on fire. 
But since to Ladies 't hath a Custome been 
Linnen to send, that travail and lye in; 
To the nine Sempstresses, my former Friends, 
I su'd but they had nought but shreds and ends. 
At last, the jolli'st of the three times three, 
Rent th' apron from her Smock, and gave it me- 
'Twas soft and gentle, subtly spun, no doubt. 
Pardon my boldness, Madam j Here's the Clout." 

"- ' * 


In the Injunctions at the Visitation of Edmunde (Bonher) Bishop of London 
from September the 3 d 1554 to October 8 th 1555, 4to. printed by John 
Cawood, we read, (Signat. B v.) " A Mydwyfe (of the diocesse and jurisdiction 
of London) shal not use or exercise any Witchecrafte, Charmes 6 , Sorcerye, 
Invocations, or Praiers, other then suche as be allowable and may stand with 
the Lawes and Ordinances of the Catholike Churche." 

In the " Articles to be enquired in the Visitacyon in the fyrst yeare of Queen 
Eliz." 1559, the following occurs: "Item, whether you knowe anye that doe 
use Charmes, Sorcery, Enchauntmentes, Invocations, Circles, Witchecraftes, 
Southsayinge, or any lyke Craftes or Imaginacions invented by the Devyl, and 
specially in the tyme of IVomerfs travayle." 

It appears from Strype's Annals of the Reformation, vol. i. p. 537, under 
Anno 1567, that then Midwives took an Oath, inter alia, not to " suffer any 

' In Jolin Bale's " Comedye concernynge thre Lawes." A. D. 1538, signat. B. iii b. Idolatry says : 

" Yea but now ych am a she 
And a good MYDWYFE perde, 

Yonge Chyldren can I charme, 
With whysperynges and whysshynges, 
With crossynges and with kyssynges, 
With blasynges * and with blessynges, 

That Spretes do them no harme." 

In the same Comedy, signat. E. iii. Hypocrysy is introduced mentioning the following foreign 
Charms against Barrenness : 

'" In Parys we have the Mantell of Saynt Lewes, 

Which Women seke moch, for helpe of their Barrennes: 

For be it ones layed upon a Wommanys bellye, 

She go thens with chylde, the myracles are scene there daylye. 

" And as for Lyons, there is the length of our Lorde 
In a great pyller. She that will with a coorde 
Be fast bound to it, and take soche chaunce as fall, 
Shall sure have Chylde, for within it is hollowe all f." 

lVy -v'j^: . I " :l " IL'~ ' '"!''' i*>A v I \< ' 

See Moresini Papatus. p. 72. 

Ct In Mr. Nichols's History of Leicestershire. Hist, and Antiq. of Leicester, p. 225. a Note informs us that 
" upon the dissolution of the Monasteries at Leicester, a multitude of false miracles and superstitious r -licks 
were detected. Amongst the rest, Our Ladies Girdle shewn in eleven several places, and her Milk in e ght; the 
Penknife of St. Thomas f Canterbury, and a Piece of his Shirt, much reverenced by big-bellied women," &c. 


other Bodies Child to be set, brought, or laid before any Woman delivered of 
Child in the place of her natural Child, so far forth as I can know and under- 
stand. Also I will not use any kind of Sorcery f or Incantation in the time of 
the Travail of any Woman." 




Against the time of the good Wife's delivery, it has been every where the 
Custom for the Husband to provide a large Cheese and a Cake*. These, 
from time immemorial, have been the objects of antient superstition. 

Jt is customary at Oxford to cut the Cheese (called in the North of England, 
in allusion to the Mother's complaints at her delivery, " the Groaning Cheese") 
in the middle when the Child is born, and so by degrees form it into a large 
kind of Ring, through which the Child must be passed on the Day of the 
Christening b . 

f In the Collection intitled," Sylva or the Wood," p. ISO, we read that " a few years ago, in this 
same village, the women in labour used to drinke the urine of their husbands, who were all the 
while stationed, as I have seen the Cows in St. James's Park, and straining themselves to give as 
much as they can." 

It was not unusual to preserve for many years, I know not for what superstitious intent, 
pieces of " the Groaning Cake." Thus I read in Gayton's Festivous Notes upon Don Quixot, 
p. 17, " And hath a piece of the Groaning Cake (as they call it) which she kept religiously with 
her Good Friday BUD, full forty years un-mouldy and un-mouse-eaten." 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 35, says : " The Custom here is not 
to make great Feasts at the Birth of their Children. They drink a Glass of Wine, and eat a Bit of 
a certain Cake, which is seldqm made but upon these occasions." 

In the Descriptive Account of Eastbourne in Sussex, p. 123, there is a vry singular Custom 
recited under the name of Sops and Ale, which still prevails in that place, after any Lady, or 
respectable Fanner or Tradesman's Wife, is delivered of a Child. 

b In other places the first Cut of the sick Wife's Cheese (so also they call the Groaning Cheese) 
is to be divided into little pieces, and tossed in the I^idwife's Smock, to cause young Women to 
dream of their Lovers. 


wiio?. 10 ,to'rt 

Bartholinus infonns us that the Danish women, before they put the new-born 
Infant into the Cradle, place there, or over the Door, as Amulets, to prevent 

Slices of the first Cut of the Groaning Cheese are in the North of England laid under the pil- 
lows of young persons for the above purpose. 

In the old play of " The Vow-Breaker, or the Fayre Maid of Clifton," 4to. 1636, signat. H. in 
a scene where is discovered " a Bed covered with white, enter Prattle, Magpy, Long-tongue, 
Barren with a child, Anne in bed;" Boote says, " Neece bring the groaning C/ieece, and all requi- 
sites, I must supply the Father's place, and bid God-fathers." 

In " A Voyage to Holland, being an Account of the late Entertainment of King William the 
Third and the several Princes there, by an English Gentleman attending the Court of "the King of 
Great Britain," 13mo. 1691, p. 23, we read: " Where the Woman lies in the Ringle of the Door 
does pennance, and is lapped about with Linnen, either to shew you that loud knocking may wake 
the Child, or else that for a month the Ring is not to he run at : but if the Child be dead there is 
thrust out a Nosegay tied to a stick's end ; perhaps for an Emblem of the Life of Man, which 
may wither as soon as born 5 or else to let you know, that though these fade upon their gather- 
ing, yet from the game stock the next year a new shoot may spring." 

So, in an old Translation of Erasmus's Dialogues, by William Burton, 4to. b. I. in that of the 
Woman in Child-bed occurs the following passage. " Eut. By chaunce I (passing by these 
Houses) sawe the Crowe, or the Ring of the Doore bound about with a white linnen Cloth, and I 
marvelled what the reason of it should be. Fab. Are you such a stranger in this Countrey that 
you doe not know the reason of that ? doe not you knowe that it is a Signe that there is a Woman 
lying in where that is ?" 

In Poor Robin's Almanack for the Year 1676, that facetious but very observing writer, noting 
the Expences of breeding Wives to their Husbands, introduces the following Items : 

" For a Nurse, the Child to dandle, 
Sugar, Sope, Spic'd Pots, and Candle, 
A Groaning Chair * , and eke a Cradle. 
Blanckets of a several scantling 
Therein for to wrap the bantling : 
Sweetmeats from Comfit-maker's trade 
When the Childs a Christian made 
Pincushions and such other knacks 
A Child-bed Woman always lacks, 
Caudles, Crewels, costly Jellies, &c." 

* An Essayist in the Gent. Mag. for May 1732, vol. ii. p. 740, observes: "Among the Women there is the 
Groaning Chair in which the Matron sils-to receive Visits of Congratulation. This is a kind at Female Ovation 
due to every good Woman who goes through such eminent perils in the service of her Country." 


the Evil Spirit from hurting the Child, Garlick, Salt, Bread, and Steel, or some 
cutting instrument made of that metal c . 

In Scotland, Children dying unbaptized (called Tarans) were supposed to 
wander in woods and solitudes, lamenting their hard fate, and were said to be 
often seen d . In the North of England it is thought very unlucky to go over 
their Graves. It is vulgarly called going over " unchristened ground 6 ." 

In the Highlands of Scotland, as Mr. Pennant informs us, Children are 
watched till the Christening is over, lest they should be stolen or changed by 
the Fairies { . 

c In his Century of rare Anatomical Histories, p. 19. "Mulierculae superstitiosa? nostratea statim 
antequaui Infantem nuper natum in Cunis reponunt, huic Caprimulgo (a Spirit so called that is 
supposed to hurt Infants) occurrunt Allio, Sale, Pane et Chalybe, vel Instrumento incisorio ex 
Chalybe, s : ve in Cunis posito, sive supra Ostium." 

We read also in Bartholinus's Treatise de PuerperioVeterum, p. 157, " Pueris, sive ante lustra- 
tionem sive post, dormientibus Caprimulgus insidiatur et Lilith, item Sags seu Stryges variis 
fascinis, qute vel Allio, vel Alysso, vel re turpi in Collo ex Annulo appeusa abiguntur. Res ilia 
turpis non Satyri fuit species, sed Priapi. Fascinus erat res turpicula e collo pueris appensa, teste 
Varrone." Lib. vi. 

Something like this obtained in England. Gregory, in his Posthuma, p. 97, mentions " an 
ordinarie Superstition of the old Wives, who dare not intrust a Childe in a Cradle by itself alone 
without a Candle." This he attributes to their fear of Night-Hags. 
d See Pennant's Tour in Scotland. 8vo. l~69, p. 157. 
e In the Gentle Shepherd, Bauldy describing Mause as a Witch, says of her: 
" At midnight hours o'er the Kirk-yard she raves, 
And howks unchristen'd Weans out of their Graves." Act ii, sc. 2. 

f To this notion Shakspeare alludes when he makes King Henry the Fourth, speaking of Hot- 
spur, in comparison with his own profligate son, say as follows : 

" O that it could be prov'd 
That some night-tripping Fairy had exchang'd, 
In Cradle-cloaths our Children where they lay, 
And call'd mine Percy, his Plantagenet ! 
Then would I have his Harry, and he mine." 

Hen. IV. P. i. act i. sc. ]. 
Spenser has the like thought : 

" From thence a Fairy thee unweeting reft 

There as thou slep'st in tender swadling band, 

And her base Elfin brood there for the left, 

Such men do CHANGELINGS call, so chang'd by Fairy theft." 

Fairy Qu. B. i. c. x. 1. 35. 


It appears antiently to have been customary to give a large Entertainment at 

See Grey's Notes on Shakspeare, vol. i. p. 257. 

It was thought that Fairies could only change their weakly and starveling Elves for the more 
robust Offspring of Men before Baptism, whence the above Custom in the Highlands. 

One of the methods of discovering whether a Child belongs to the Fairies or not, is printed in 
a Book entitled " A pleasant Treatise of Witchcraft." See Grose's Account. 

The word CHANGELING, in its modern acceptation, implies one almo^i an Idiot, evincing what 
was once the popular Creed on this subject, for as all the Fairy Children were a little backward 
of their tongue and seemingly Idiots, therefore stunted and idiotical Children were supposed 
Changelings. This superstition has not escaped the learned Moresin : " Papal us credit albatas 
Mulieres, et id genus Larvas, pueros integros auferre, aliosque suggerere monsiruosos, et debiles 
multis partibus ; aul ad Baptisteriuin cum aliis commutare, aut ad Templi introitum." Papatus, 
p. 139. 

Mr. Pennant, in his History of Whiteford, &c. p. 5, speaking of " the Fairy Oak," of which 
also he exhibits a portrait, relates this curious circumstance respecting it : 

"In this very century, a poor Cottager, who lived near the spot, had a Child who grew uncom- 
monly peevish ; the parents attributed this to the Fairies, and imagined that it was a CHANGE- 
LING. They took the Child, put it in a Cradle, and left it all night beneath the Tree, in hopes 
that the tylwydd teg, or Fairy family, or the Fairy folk, would restore their own before morning. 
When morning came, they found the Child perfectly quiet, so went away with it, quite confirmed 
in, their belief." 

Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man (Works, fol. 1731, p. 129) tells us : " The old 
story of Infants being changed in their Cradles, is here in such credit, that Mothers are in conti- 
nual terror at the thoughts of it. I was prevailed upon myself to go and see a Child, who, they 
told me, was one of these Changelings, and indeed must own was not a little surprized as well as 
shocked at the sight. Nothing under Heaven could have a more beautiful face : but tho' between 
five and six years old, and seemingly healthy, he was so far from being able to walk or stand, 
that he could not so much as move any one joint : his limbs were vastly long for his age, but 
smaller than an Infant's of six months : his complexion was perfectly delicate, and he had the finest 
hair in the world : he never spoke nor cryed, eat scarce any thing, and was very seldom seen to 
smile; but If any one called him a Fairy-Elf he would frown, and fix his eyes so earnestly on those 
who said it, as if he would look them through. His Mother, or at least his supposed Mother, 
being very poor, frequently went out a Chairing, and left him a whole day together : the neigh- 
bours out of curiosity, have often looked in at the window to see how he behaved when alone, 
which, whenever they did, they were sure to find him laughing, and in the utmost delight. This 
made them judge that he was not without Company more pleasing to him than any mortal's 
could be ; and what made this conjecture seem the more reasonable, was, that if he were left ever 
so dirty, the Woman, at her return, saw him with a clean face, and his hair combed with the 
utmost exactness and nicety." 



the Churching, and previous to that at the Christening e. 

He mentions, Ibid. p. 132, " Another Woman, who, being great with Child, and expecting 
every moment the good hour, as she lay awake one night in her bed, she saw seven or eight little 
Women come into her Chamber, one of whom had an Infant in her arms. They were followed 
by a Man of the same size, in the habit of a Minister." A mock Christening ensued, and " they 
baptized the Infant by the name of Joan, which made her know she was pregnant of a Girl, as it 
proved a few days after, when she was delivered." 

See Dr. Whitaker's History of Craven, p. 220, where Master John Norton " gate leave of my 
old Lord to have half a Stagg for his Wife's Churching :" On which he observes in a Note, 
" Hence it appears that Thanksgivings after Child-Birth were anciently celebrated with feasting. 
For this Custom I have a still older authority ; " In iit> us Hogsheveds Vini albi empt' apud 
Ebor. erga purificationem Dominae, tarn post partum Mag'ri mei nuper de Clifford, quant post 
partum Mag'ri* mei nunc de Clifford. Ixvis. viijd." (Compotus Tho. Dom. Clifford a" 15 
Hen. VI. or 1437.) 

Harrison, in his Description of Britain in Holinshed's Chronicles, complains of the excessive 
feasting, as well at other festive meetings, as at " Purifications of Women." 

In " the pleasant Historic of Thomas of Reading," 4to. Lond. 1632, b. I. signal. H. iii. we read : 
" Button's Wife of Salisbury, which had lately bin delivered of a Sonne, against her going to 
Church prepared great cheare : at what time Simon's Wife of Southampton came thither, and so 
did divers others of the Clothiers Wives, onely to make merry at this Churching-Feast." 

In " The Batchellor's Banquet," Lond. 1677, the Lady (A. 3.) is introduced telling her Hus- 
band : " You willed me (I was sent for) to go to Mistress M. Churching, and when I came thither / 
found great Cheer and no small company of Wives." And at C. 2. Ibid, the Lady is asked : " If I 
had ever a new Gown to be churched in." 

Among Shipman's Poems, Svo. Lond. 1683, is one dated 1667, and entitled " The Churching 
Feast, to Sr Clifford Clifton for a fat Doe." p. 123. I have, in my Library, a printed CHURCH- 

The Poem entitled " Julia's Churching, or Purification," however, in Herrick's Hesperides, 
p. 339, makes no mention of the Churching Entertainment : 

" Put on thy Holy .Fillitings and so 

To th' Temple with the sober Midwife go. 

Attended thus (in a most solemn wise) 

By those who serve the Child-bed misteries. 

Burn first thine Incense; next, when as thou see'st 

The candid Stole thrown o'er the pious Priest; 

With reverend Curtsies come, and to him bring 

Thy free (and not decurted) offering. 

Master is here used in the Scottish sense for the lieir apparent of the family. 



The learned Dr. Moresin informs us of a remarkable Custom, which he 
himself was an eye-witness of in Scotland : they take, says he, on their return 
from Church, the newly-baptized Infant, and vibrate it three or four times 

1 All Rites well ended, with faire auspice come 

(As to the breaking of a Bride-Cake) home : 

Where ceremonious Hymen shall for thee 
i Provide a second Epithalamie." 


In the first volume of Proclamations, &c. folio, remaining in the Archives of the Society of 
Antiquaries of London, p. 134, is preserved an original one, printed in black letter, and dated 
the 16th of November, 30 Hen. VIII. in which, among many " laudable Ceremonies and Rytes" 
enjoined to be retained, is the following : " Ceremonies used at Purification of Women delyvered 
of Chylde, and offerynge of theyr Crysomes." 

In a most rare Book, entitled " A Pavte of a Register, contayninge sundrie memorable Matters, 
written by divers godly and learned in our time, which stande for and desire the Reformation of 
our Church, in discipline and ceremonies, accordinge to the pure Worde of God and the Lawe of 
our Lande," 4to. said by Dr. Bancroft to have been printed at Edinburgh by Robert Waldegrave, 
(who piinted most of the puritan Books and Libels in the latter end of Queen Elizabeth's reign,) 
p. 64, in a List of " grosse poyntes of Poperie, evident to all Men," is enumerated the following: 
"The Churching of Women with this Psalme, that the Sunne and Moone shall not burns them.-" 
as is Ibid. p. 63. " The Offeringe of the Woman at hir Churching." 

Lupton, in his first Book of " Notable Things," edit. 1660. p. 49, says : " If a Man be the first 
that a Woman meets after she comes out of the Church, when she is newly churched, it signifies 
that her itext Child will be a Boy : if she meet a Woman, then a Wench is likely to be her next 
Child. This is credibly reported to me to be true." 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xxi. p. 147, Parish of Monquhitter, 
it is said : "It was most unhappy for a Woman, after bringing forth a Child, to offer a visit, or 
for her Neighbours to receive it, till she had been duly churched. How strongly did this enforce 
gratitude to the Supreme Being for a safe delivery ? On the day when such a Woman was 
Churched, every Family, favoured with a call, were bound to set Meat and Drink before her : and 
when they omitted to do so, they and theirs were to be loaded with her hunger. What was this 
but an obligation on all who had it in their power to do the needful to prevent a feeble Woman 
from feinting for want?" 


gently over a Flame, saying, and repeating it thrice, " Let the Flame consume 
thee now or never*." 

Grose tells us there is a superstition that a child who does not cry \vhen sprin- 
kled in Baptism will not live b . He has added another idea equally well founded, 

"Atque hodie recens baptizatos Infantes (ut vidi fieri ab Aniculain Scotia olim qui sui papa- 
tus reliquias saperet) statim atque Domuin redierint in limine oblatis eduliis bene venire dicunt, 
statimque importatos, Anicula, sive Obstetrix fuerit, fasciis involutes accipit, et per flummam ter 
quaterve leniter vibrant, verbis his additis, ' Jam te flamma, si unquam, absumat, terque verba 
repetunt." Papatus, p. 72. 

Borlase, from Martin's Western Islands, p. 117, telJs us: "The same lustration, by carrying, 
of fire, is performed round about women after child-bearing, and round about children before 
they are christened, as an effectual means to preserve both the mother and infant from the power 
of evil spirits." 

It is very observable here, that there was a feast at Athens, kept by private families, called Am- 
phidromia, on the fifth day after the birth of the child, when it was the custom for the gossips to 
run round the fire with the infant in their arms, and then, having delivered it to the nurse, they 
were entertained with feasting and dancing. 

b In "Memorable Things noted in the Description of the World," Svo. p. 113, we read: 
"About children's necks the wild Irish hung the beginning of St. John's Gospel, a crooked nail 
of an horse-shoe, or a piece of a wolve's-skin, and both the sucking child and nurse were girt 
with girdles finely plated with woman's hair : so far they wandered into the ways of errour, in 
making these arms the strength of their healths*." 

Ibid. p. 111. ft is said : "Of the same people Solinus affirmeth, that they are so given to war, 
that the mother, at the birth of a man child, feedeth the first meat into her infant's mouth upon. 
he point of her husband's sword, and with heathenish imprecations wishes that it may dye no 
otherwise then in war, or by swordf." Giraldus Cambrensis saith, " At the baptizing of the 
infants of the wild Irish, their manner was not to dip their right arms into the water, that so as 
they thought they might give a more deep and incurable blow." Here is a proof that the whole 
body of the child was antiently commonly immersed in the baptismal fpnt. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, Svo. Edinb. 1793, vol. vii. p. 560. Parishes of Kirk wall 
and St. Ola, we read that the inhabitants " would consider it as an unhappy omen, were they by 
any means disappointed in getting themselves married, or their children baptized, on the very 
day which they had previously fixed in their mind for that purpose." 

Ibid. vol. xiv. p. 261, Svo. Edinb. 1795, Parish of Kilfinan, Argyleshire, we read : " There is 
one pernicious practice that prevails much in this parish, which took its rise from this scource,. 

See also Cough's edit, of Caraden, fol. Load. 1789, vol. iu. p. 658. Camden relates, in addition to this, 
that, " if a child is at any time out of order, they sprinkle it with the stalest urine they can get." 

t Mr. Pennant informs us, that in the Highlands midwive. give new-born babes a small spoonful of earth 
and whisky, as the first food they take. 


that children prematurely wise are not long-lived, that is, rarely reach matu- 
rity ; a notion which we find quoted by Shakspeare, and put into the mouth of 
Richard the Third. 

_ ' 

which is, that of carrying their children out to baptism on the first or second day after birth. 
Many of them, although they had it in their option to have their children baptized in their own 
houses, by waiting one day, prefer carrying them seven or eight miles to church in the worst wea- 
ther in December or January, by which folly they too often sacrifice the lives of their infants to 
the phantom of superstition." 

Ibid. vol. xv. p. 311. The Minister of the parishes of South Ronaldsay and Burray, two of the 
Orkney Islands, describing the manners of the inhabitants, says: " Within these last seven years, 
the Minister has been twice interrupted in administering Baptism to a female child, before the male 
child, who was baptized immediately after. When the service was over, he was gravely told he 
had done very wrong, for, as the female child was first baptized, she would, on her coming to the 
years of discretion, most certainly have a strong beard, and the boy would have none." 

In the above work, vol. v. 8vo. Edinb. 1793, p. 83. The Minister of Logierait, in Perthshire, 
describing the superstitious opinions and practices in that parish, says : " When a child was bap- 
tized privately, it was, not long since, customary to put the child upon a clean basket, having a 
cloth previously spread over it, with bread and cheese put into the cloth ; and thus to move the 
basket three times successively round the iron crook, which hangs over the fire, from the roof of 
the house, for the purpose of supporting the pots when water is boiled, or victuals are prepared. 
This might be anciently intended to counteract the malignant arts which witches and evil spirits 
were imagined to practise against new-born infants." 

c Bulwer, in his Chirologia, p. 6-2, remarks, that "There is a tradition our midwives have con- 
cerning children borne open-handed, tiiat such will prove of a bountiful disposition and frank- 

The following occurs in the Second Part of Dekker's Honest Whore, 4to. Lond. 1630; Signat. 
F. b. " I am the most wretched fellow : sure some left-handed priest christened me, I am so unlucky." 
In Herrick's Hesperides, p. 336, we have the following charms : 
"Bring the holy crust of bread, 
Lay it underneath the head ; 
Tis a certain Charm to keep 
Hags away while Children sleep." 

" Let the superstitious wife 
Neer the child's heart lay a knife > 
Point be up, and haft be down, 
(While she gossips in the towne,) 
This, 'mongst other mystick Charms 
Keeps the sleeping Child from harmes," 


It appears to have been antiently the custom at Christening entertainments, 
for the guests not only to eat as much as they pleased, but also, for the ladies, 
at least, to carry away as much as they liked in their pocketb d . 

The following Scottish modern Superstitions respecting new-born children are introduced into 
" Helenore, or the Fortunate Shepherdess, a Poem in the broad Scotch dialect, by Alexander 
Ross, A. M. Schoolmaster at Lochlee," 12mo. Aberd. 1778, p. 12 : 

" Gryte was the care, and tut'ry that was ha'en, 

Baith night and day about the bony Weeane, 

The Jizzen-bed* wi' rantry leaves f was sain'dj. 

And sik like things as the auld Grannies kend, 

Jeans paps wi' sat and water weaken clean, 

Reed that her milk get wrang, fan it was green. 

Neist the first hippen to the green was flung, 

And thereat seeful || words baith said and sung. 

A clear brunt coal wi' the het Tongs was ta'en 

Frae out the Ingle-mids fu' clear and clean, 

And throw the corsy-belly^ letten fa, 

For fear the weeane should be ta'en awa; 

Dowing** and growing, was the daily pray'r, 

And Nory was brought up wi' unco care." 

* In "The Batchellor's Banquet," already quoted, 4to. Lond. 1677, Signat. B. iii. we read: 
" What cost and trouble it will be to have all things fine against the Christning Day ; what store of 
sugar, biskets, comphets, and caraways, marmalet, and marchpane, with all kind of sweet suckers 
and superfluous banquetting stuff, with a hundred other odd and needless trifles, which at that 
time must Jill the pockets of dainty dames." I find the mother called here "the child-wife." 

In Strype's edition of Stow's Survey of London, Book i. p. 260, accounts are given of two great 
Christenings, in 1561 and 1562. After the first was "a splendid banquet at home;" and the 
other, we read, "was concluded with a great banquet, consisting of wafers and hypocras, French, 
Gascoign, and Rhenish wines, with great plenty, and all their servants had a banquet in the hall, 
with divers dishes." 

Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man, (Works, p. 170,) speaking of the Manks' 
Christenings, says: " The whole country round are invited to them ; and, after having baptized 
the child, which they always do in the church, let them live ever so distant from it, they return 
to the house, and spend the whole day, and good part of the night, in feasting." 

In " Whimzies, or a new Cast of Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1631, p. 192, speaking of a yealous 

The Linnen Bed. -f. I suppose meaning Rowen Tree. 

* Blessed. 5 For fear. || Pleasant. 
f An Infant's first Shirt. * Thriving. 


Hutchinson, in his History of Northumberland, tells us that Children in that 
County 6 , when first sent abroad in the arms of the nurse to visit a neighbour, 
are presented with an egg, salt, and fine bread f . 

(jealous) neighbour, the author says : " Store of bisket, wafers, and careawayes, hee bestowes at 
his Child's Christning, yet are his cares nothing lessned : he is perswaded, that he may eate his 
part of this babe, and never breake his fast." 

At the Christening entertainments of many of the poorer sort of people in the North of Eng- 
land, (who are so unfortunate as to provide more mouths than they can with convenience find 
meat for,) great Collections are oftentimes made by the guests, and such as will far more than de- 
fray the expences of the feast of which they have been paitaking *. 

e It is customary there also for the Midwife, &c. to provide two slices, one of bread and the 
other of cheese, which are presented to the first person they meet in the procession to Church at a 
Christening-. The person who receives this homely present must give the Child in return three 
different things, wishing it at the same time health and beauty. The gentleman who informed me 
of this, happening once to fall in the way of such a party, and to receive the above present, was at 
a loss how to make the triple return, till he bethought himself of laying upon the Child which was 
held out to him, a Shilling, a Halfpenny, and a Pinch of Snuff. When they meet more than one 
person together, it is usual to single out the nearest to the woman that carries the child. 

There is a singular Custom prevailing in the Country of the Lesgins, one of the Seventeen Tar- 
tarian Nations. " Whenever the Usmei, or Chief, has a son, he is carried round from village to 
village, and alternately suckled by every woman who has a child at her breast, till he is weaned. 
This custom by establishing a kind of brotherhood between the Prince and his subjects, singu- 
larly endears them to each other." See the Europ. Mag. for June 1801, p. 408. 

' Vol ii. p. 4. ad finem. He observes that " the Egg was a sacred emblem, and seems a gift well 
adapted to infancy." Mr. Bryant says, " An Egg, containing in it the elements of life, was thought 
no improper emblem of the ark, in.wh.ich were preserved the rudiments of the future world : hence 
in the Dionusiaca and in other Mysteries, one part of the nocturnal ceremony consisted in the 
consecration of an Egg. By this, as we are informed by Porphyry, was signified the World. It 
seems to have been a favourite symbol, and very antient, and we find it adopted among many 
nations. It was said by the Persians of Orosmasdes, that he formed Mankind and inclosed them in 
an Egg. Cakes and Salt were used in religious rites by the antients. The Jews probably adopted 
their appropriation from the Egyptians : " And if thou bring an oblation of a Meat-offering baken 
in the oven, it shaD be unleavened Cakes of fine flour," &c. Levit. ii. 4. " With all thine offerings 
thou shalt offer Salt." Ibid. p. 13. ' 

* There was an antient Customcalled Bid-Ale, or Bidder-Ale, from the Saxon word blbfean to pray or 
supplicate, when any honest man, decayed in his estate, was set up again by the liberal benevolence and con- 
tributions of friends at a feast, to which those friends were bid, or invited. It was most used in the West of 
England, and in some counties called a Help-Ale. 


It was antiently the Custom for the Sponsors at Christenings to offer gilt 
Spoons as presents to the Child: these Spoons were called Apostle Spoons, 
because the figures of the Twelve Apostles were chased or carved on the tops of 
the handles. Opulent Sponsors gave the whole twelve. Those in middling cir- 
cumstances gave four ; and the poorer sort contented themselves with the gifts of 

Cowel in his Law Dictionary in the word " Kichell" says : " It was a good old custom for God- 
fathers and God-mothers, every time their God-children asked them blessing to give them a Cake, 
which was a Gods-Kichell : it is still a proverbial saying in some Countries, " Ask me a blessing, 
and I will give you some plumb-cake *." 

Among superstitions relating to Children, the following is cited by Bourne in the Antiquitates 
Vulgares, chap.xviii. from Bingham on St. Austin : " If when two friends are talking together a 
Stone, or a Dog, or a Child, happens to come between them, they tread the Stone to pieces as the 
divider of their friendship, and this is tolerable in comparison of beating an innocent Child that 
comes between them. But it is more pleasant that sometimes the Children's quarrel i= revenged 
by the dogs : for many times they are so superstitious as to dare to beat the Dog that comes be- 
tween them, who turning again upon him that smites him, sends him from seeking a vain remedy, 
to seek a real physician indeed." 

g See Reed"'s edit, of Shakspeare, vol. xv. p. 197- In the year 1560, we find entered in the 
Books of the Stationers' Company : " a Spoyne, of the gyfte of Master Reginold Wolfe, all gylte 
with the pycture of St. John." Ben Jonson also in his Bartholomew Fair mentions Spoons of 
this kind : " And all this for the hope of a couple of Apostle Spoons and a Cup to eat Caudle in." 

So, in Middleton's Comedy of a Chaste Maid of Cheapside, 1620. " Second Gossip. What has 
he given her ? What is it Gossip ? 3. Gos. A faire high-standing Cup and two great 'Postlt 
Spoons." " One of them gilt." 

Again, in Sir William Davenant's Comedy of" The Wits," 1639 : 

" My pendants, carcanets, and rings, 
My Christning Caudle-cup and Spoons, 
Are dissolved into that lump." 
Again, in the " Noble Gentleman," by Beaumont and Fletcher : 

" I'll be a Gossip. Bewford, 

I have an odd Apostle Spoon." 

In Shipman'a " Gossips," 1666. (See his Poems, 8vo. Lond. 1683. p. 1 13,) we read : 
" Since friends are scarce, and neighbours many, 
Who will lend mouths, but not a penny ; 

The following singular superstition concerning a child's bread and butter will be thought uncommonly 
singular: "Si puerulo panis cadat in butyrum, indicium [est] vitas infortunatic, si in alteram faciem, fortu- 
nate.*' Pet Moliiuei Vates, p. 154. 


one, exhibiting the figure of any Saint in honour of whom the Child received 

I, (if you grant not a supply) 
Must e'en provide a Chrisome Pye." 
i. e. serve up the Child in a Pie. 

Our author is pleasant on the failure of the old Custom of giving Apottle Spoons, &c. at 

Christenings : 

" Especially since Gossips now 

Eat more at Christnings, than bestow*. 

Formerly when they us'd to troul 

Gilt Bowls of Sack, they gave the Bowl ; 

Two Spoons at least ; an Use ill kept} 

Tis well now if our own be left." 

With respect to the " Crisome Pye" it is well known that " Crisome signifies properly the white 
cloth, which is set by the Minister of Baptism upon the head of a Child newly anointed with Chrism 
(a kind of hallowed ointment used by Roman Catholics in the Sacrament of Baptism and for cer- 
tain other unctions, composed of oyl and balm) after his Baptism. Now it is vulgarly taken for 
the white cloth put about or upon a Child newly christened, in token of his Baptism ; wherewith 
the women used to shrowd the Child, if dying within the month ; otherwise it is usually brought 
to Church at the Day of Purification f." Blount's Glossographia in v. 

We find ibid, under " Natal or Natalitious Gifts" among the Grecians, the fifth day after the 
Child's birth, the neighbours sent in Gifts, or small Tokens ; from which custom, that among 
Christians of the Godfathers sending gifts to the baptized infant, is thought to have flown : and 
that also of the neighbours sending gifts to the mother of it, as is still used in North Wales." 

In " The Comforts of Wooing," &c. p. 163. " The Godmother, hearing when the Child's to be 
coated, brings it a gilt Coral, a silver Spoon, and Porringer, and a brave new Tankard of the same 
metal. The Godfather conies too, the one with a whole piece of flower'd silk, the other with a set 
of gilt Spoons, the gifts of Lord Mayors at several times." 

In Howes's edition of Stowe's Chronicle, fol. 1631. p. 1039. speaking of the Life and Reign of 
king James, he observes : " At this time, and for many yeares before, it was not the use and cus- 

* M. Stevenson, in " The Twelve Moneths," 4to. Lond. 1661. p. 37, speaking of the Month of August, observes : 
" Tht new Wheat makes the Gossips Cake, and the Bride-Cup is carryed above the heads of the whole parish." 

f In Strype, ut supra, vol. i. p. 215, A. D. 1560. it is said to have been enjoined that," to avoid contention, let 
the curate have the value of the Chrisome, not under the value of 4rf. and above as they can agree, and as the 
tate of the parents may require." 

In the Account of Dunton Church, in Barnstable Hundred, in Morant't Essex, vol. i. p. 219, is the following 
remark : " Here has been a custom, time out of mind at the churching of a woman, for her to giva a white 
Cambrick Handkerchief to the Minister as an offering. This is observed by Mr. Lewis in his History of the Isle 
of Thanel, where the same custom is kept up." 

In Articles to be enquired of in Chichester Diocese, A. D. 1638. scours the following : " Doth the Woman who 
is to be churched use the antient accustomed habit iu such races, with a white vail or ktrchicfc upon her heml '" 


its name 11 . 

tome (as no* it is) for Godfathers and Godmothers, generally to give plate at the Baptisme of 
Children, (as Spoones, Cupps, and such like ; but onely to give Christening Shirts, with little Bands 
and Cuffs, wrought, either with silke or blew threed, the best of them, for chiefe persons weare, 
edged with a small lace of blacke silke and gold, the highest price of which for great men's chil" 
dren, was seldom above a Noble, and the common sort, two, three, or tbure, and five shillings 
a piece. 

Strype, in his Annals of the Reformation, vol. i. p. 196. A. D. 1559, informs us that " on the 27th 
of October that year, the Prince of Sweden, the Lord Robert and the Lady Marchioness of North- 
ampton, stood sureties at the christening of Sir Thomas Chamberlaynes son, who was baptized at 
St. Benet's Church, at Paul's Wharf. The church was hung with cloth of arras : and after the 
Christening were brought wafers, comfits, and divers banqueting dishes, and Hypocras and Mus- 
cadine wine, to entertain the guests." 

There was formerly a custom of having Sermons at Christenings. I had the honour of presenting 
to the Earl of Leicester one preached at the Baptism of Theophilus Earl of Huntingdon. 

1 The well-known toy, with bells, &c. and a piece of CORAL at the end, which is generally sus- 
pended from the necks of infants to assist them in cutting their teeth; is with the greatest proba- 
bility supposed to have had its origin in an antient superstition, which considered Coral as an Amu- 
let or Defensative against Fascination : for this we have the authority of Pliny ; " Aruspices reli- 
giosum Coralli gestamen amoliendis periculis arbitrantur : et Surculi Infantiaj alligati tutelam 
habere creduntur." It was thought too to preserve and fasten the teeth in men. 

Reginald Scot, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, p. 166, says : " The Coral preserveth such as bear 
it from fascination or bewitching, and in this respect they are hanged about children's necks. 
But from whence that superstition is derived, or who invented the lye I know not : but 1 see how 
ready the people are to give credit thereunto by the multitude of corrals that were employed." 

Steevens, (see Reed's edition of Shakspeare, vol. vii. p. 306.) informs us that there appears to have 
been an old superstition that Coral would change its colour and look pale when the wearer of it was 
sick. So in the Three Ladies of London, 1584. 

" You may say Jet will take up a straw, Amber will make one fat, 
CORAL will look pale when you be nick, and Chrystal will stanch blood." 

In Bartholomeus de Proprietatibus Rerum, edit. fol. Berthel. 1536. fol. 229. we read " Wytches 
tell, that this stone (Coral) withstondeth lyghtenynge. It putteth of lyghtnyng, whirlewynde, tem- 
peste and stormes fro shyppes and houses that it is in. The Red [Corall] helped) ayenst the fendes 
gyle and scorne, and ayenst divers wonderous doyng, and multiplietli fruite and spedeth begyn- 
nyng and ending of causes and of nedes." 

Coles, in his /' Adam in Eden," speaking of Corall, says -. it helpeth Children to breed their 
teeth, their gums being rubbed therewith ; and to that purpose they have it fastened at the ends of 
their mantles." 
And Plat, in bis " Jewel-House of Art and Nature," p.232. says, " Coral is good to be hanged about 



MOST profusely various have been the different Rites, Ceremonies, and Cus- 
toms adopted by the several Nations of the Christian World, on the perform- 
ance of that most sacred of Institutions by which the Maker of Mankind has 
directed us to transmit our Race a . 

The inhabitants of this Island do not appear to have been outdone by any 
other people on this occasion. 

Before we enter upon the discussion of these, it will be necessary to consider 
distinctly the several Ceremonies peculiar to betrothing by a verbal contract of 
Marriage, and promises of Love previous to the Marriage union. 

Children's necks, as well to rub their gums, as to preserve them from the falling sickness : it hath 
also some special simpathy with nature, for the best Coral being worn about the neck, will turn 
pale and wan, if the party that wears it be sick, and comes to its former colour again, as they re- 
cover health." 

In a most rare work entitled, " The French Garden, for English Ladyes and Gentlewomen to 
walke in : or a Sommer Dayes Labour," &c. by Peter Erondell and John Fabre, 8vo. Lond. 1621. 
Signat. H. 2 . in a Dialogue relative to the Dress of a Child, we have another proof of the long con- 
tinuance of this custom : " You need not yet give him his CORXLL with the small golden Chayne, 
for I beleeve it is better to let him sleepe untill the afternoone." 

In a curious old book b. 1. 12mo. 1554, fol. 8. entitled, " Ashort Description of Antichrist," &c. 
(see Herbert's edit, of Ames's Typogr. Antiq. p. 1 579.) is this passage: "I note all their Popishe 
traditions of Confirmacion of yonge Children with oynting of oyle and creame, and with a Raggc 
knitte aboute the necke of the yonge Babe," &c. 

" As Marriage is the nearest and most endearing tie, and the foundation of all other relations, 
certain Ceremonies have been used at the celebration of it, in almost every country. These Cere- 
monies, in the first stages of society, were commonly few aud simple." Heiyy's Hist, of Great 
Britain, 4to. vol. i. p. 457. 

. : ,',- ,i 'I. . -M 



THERE was a remarkable kind of Marriage-Contract among the antient 
Danes called Hand-festing b . It is mentioned in Ray's Glossarium Northan- 
hymbricum in his Collection of local Words. 

b " Hand-f training, promissio, quae fit stipulata manu, sive cives fidem suam principi spondeant, 
ive mutuam inter se, matrimoniura iniluri, a phrasi/tfsta hand, qua; notat dextram dextrse jun- 
gere." Glossar. Suio-Gothicum, auctore I. Ihre in voce. vid. Ibid, in v. BROLLOP. BRUDKAUP. 

In " The Christen State of Matrimony," 8vo. Lond. 1543, p. 43 b. we read : " Yet in thysthygne 
also must I warne everye reasonable and honest parson, to beware that in contractyng of Maryage 
thev dyssemble not, ner set forthe any lye. Every man lykewyse must esteme the parson to whom 
he is handfasted, none otherwyse than for his owne spouse, though as yet it be not done in the 
Church ner in the Streate. After the Handfastynge and makyng of the Contracte y c Churchg^oyng 
and Weddyng shuld not be differred to longe, lest the wickedde sowe hys ungracious sede in the 
meane season. Into this dysh hath the Dyvell put his foote and mengled it wythe many wycked 
uses and coustumes. For in some places ther is such a maner, wel worthy to be rebuked, that at 
the HANDEFASTING ther is made a greate feaste and superfluous Dancket, and even the same night are 
the two handfasted personnes brought and layed together, yea certan wekes afore they go to 

the Chyrch." 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol.xii. Svo, Edinb. 1794, p. 615. The 
Minister of Eskdalemuir, in the County of Dumfries, under the head of Antiquities, mentioning an 
annual Fair held time out of mind at the meeting of the Black and White Esks, now entirely laid 
aside, says : " At that Fair it was the custom for the unmarried persons of both sexes to choose a 
companion, according to their liking, with whom they were to live till that time next year. This 
was called Hand-fasting, or hand in fist. If they were pleased with each other at that time, then 
they continued together for life : if not they separated, and were free to make another choice as 
at the first. The fruit of the connection, (if there were any) was always attached to the disaffected 
person. In later times, when this part of the country belonged to the Abbacy of Melrose, a Priest, 
to whom they gave the name of Book i'bosom, (either because he carried in his bosom a Bible, or 
perhaps a register of the marriages,) came from time to time to confirm the marriages. This 
place is only a small distance from the Roman encampment of Castle-oe'r. May not the Fair 
have been first instituted when the Romans resided there ? and, may not the ' Hand-fasting' have 
taken its rise from their manner of celebrating Marriage, ex usu, by which, if a woman, with the 
consent of her parents, or guardians, lived with a man for a year, without being absent three 
nights, she became his wife ? Perhaps, when Christianity was introduced, this form of Marriage 


Strong traces of this remain in our villages in many parts of the Kingdom. I 
have been more than once assured from credible authority on Portland Island 
that something very like it is still practised there very generally, where the in- 
habitants seldom or never intermarry with any on the main-land, and where the 
young women, selecting lovers of the same place, (but with what previous Rites, 
Ceremonies, or Engagements, I could never learn,) account it no disgrace to 
allow them every favour, and that too from the fullest confidence of being made 
wives, the moment such consequences of their stolen embraces begin to be too 
visible to be any longer concealed. 

It was antiently very customary, among the common sort of people, to break 
a piece of Gold or Silver in token of a verbal contract of marriage and promises 

may have been looked upon as imperfect, without confirmation by a Priest, and therefore, one 
may have been sent from time to time for this purpose." 

In a book of great curiosity entitled, " A Werke for Housholders, &c. by a professed Brother of 
Syon, Richarde Whitforde, 8vo. Lond. 1537. Signal. D. 7- is the following caution on the above 
subject : " The ghostely Enemy doth deceyve many persones by the pretence and coloure of Matri- 
mony in private and secrete contractes. For many men when they can nat obteyne theyr unclene 
desyre of the woman, wyll promyse Maryage and ther upon make a contracte promyse and gyve 
fayth and trouth eche unto other, sayng " Here I take the Margery unto my wyfe, and therto I 
plyght the my troth. And she agayne unto him in lyke maner. And after that done, they suppose 
they maye lawfully use theyr unclene behavyoure, and sometyme the aete and dede dothe folowe, 
unto the greate offence of God and their owne souls. It is a great jeopardy therefore to make any 
suche Contractes, specially amonge them selfe secretely alone without Recordes, which muste be 
two at the lest. 

In Strype's Annals of the Reformation, vol. i. Append, p. 57. among the Interrogatories for the 
Doctrine and Manners of Mynisters, &c. early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, is the following, 

which clearly implies the then use and abuse of Betrothing. 

" 28. Whether they have exhorted yong Folkc to absteyne from privy Contracts, and not to 

marry without the consent of such their Parents and Fryends as have auctority over them ; 

or no." 

I have no doubt but that in every of the privy Contracts to be cautioned against by the above, 

there was a " mutual Interchangement of Rings," and the fullest indulgence of every sexual 


" The antient Frenchmen had a ceremom'e, that when they would marrie, the Bridegrome should 

pare hit nay Us and send them unto Aw new Wife : which done, they lived together afterwards as man 

and wife." Vaughan's Golden Grove, 8vo. Lond. 1608, Signat. O 2 b. 


of love ; one half whereof was kept by the woman, while the other part re- 
mained with the man c . Mr. Strutt, in his Manners and Customs* 1 , has illus- 

In the old play, " A Woman's a Wether-Cocke," Scudmore, Act ii. sc. 1. tclb the Priest who is 
going U> marry his Mistress to Count Fredericke, 

" She is contracted, Sir, nay married 
Unto another man, though it want forme : 
And such strange passages and mutual] vowes, 
'Tvvould make your short haire start through your blacke 
Cap, should you but heare it." 

The Dialogue between Kitty and Filbert in the " What d'ye call it," by Gay, is much to our 
purpose : 

" Yet, Justices, permit us, ere we part, 

To break this Ninepence as you've broke our heart." 

" Filbert (breaking the ninepence) As this divides, thus are we torn in twain. 
" Kitty (joining the pieces) And as this meets, thus may we meet again." 

A MS. in the Harleian Library, No. 980. cited by Strutt, states that, " by the Civil Law, what- 
soever is given ex sponsalitia T^argitate, betwixt them that are promised in Marriage, hath a condi- 
tion (for the most part silent) that it may be had again if Marriage ensue not ; but if the man 
should have had a Kiss for his money, he should lose one half of that which he gave. Yet, with 
the woman it is otherwise, for, kissing or not kissing, whatsoever she gave, she may ask and have 
it again. However, this extends only to Gloves, Rings, Bracelets, and such like small wares." 
Strutt's Manners and Customs, vol. iii. p. 153. 

Camden, in his Antient and Modern Manners of the Irish, says, that " they are observed to 
present their lovers with Bracelets of women's hair, whether in reference to Venus' Cestus or not, 
I know not." Cough's Camden, vol. iii. p. 658. See also, "Memorable Tilings noted in the 
Description of the World," p. 113. 

In the old Play, entitled, "The Dutch Courtezan," a pair of lovers are introduced plighting 
their troth as follows : "Enter Freeville. Pages with Torches. Enter Beatrice above." After 
some very impassioned conversation, Beatrice says : " I give you faith; and prelhee, since, poore 
soule ! I am so easie to beleeve thee, make it much more pitty to deceive me. Wears this sleight 
favour in my remembrance" (throweth down a ring to him.) 

" Frev. Which, when I part from, 

Hope, the best of life, erer part from me ! 

Graceful Mistresse, our nuptiall day holds. 

" Beatrice. With happy Constancye a wished day. Exit." 

Of gentlemen's presents on similar occasions, a Lady, in Cupid's Revenge, (a play of Beaumont 
and Fletcher's,) says : 


trated this by an extract from the old play of the Widow. From this it also 
appears that no dry bargain would hold on such occasions. For on the Widow's 

" Given Earings we will wear ; 
Bracelets of our Lovers hair, 
Which they on our arms shall twist 
(With their names carv'd) on our wrist.' ' 

th Greene's " Defence of Conny-Catching," Signal. C.3. b. is the following passage : " Is there 
not heere resident about London, a crew of terryble Hacksters in the habite of gentlemen wel ap- 
pareled, and yet some weare bootes for want of stockings, with a locke worne at theyr lefte earefor 
their Mistrisse Favour." 

The subsequent is taken from Thomas Lodge's " Wit's Miserie and the Worlde's Madnesse, 
discovering the Devils Incarnat of this Age," 4to. Lond. 1596, p. 47 : "When he rides, you shall 
know him by his Fan: and, if he walke abroad, and misse his Mistres favor about his neck, arms, 
or thigh, he hangs the head like the soldier in the field that is disarmed." 

Among affiancing customs, the following will appear singular. Park, in his Travels in the 
Interior of Africa, tells us, " At Baniseribe a Slatee having seated himself upon a mat by the 
threshold of his door, a young woman (his intended bride) brought a little water in a calabash, 
and, kneeling down before him, desired him to wash his hands : when he had done this, the girl, 
with a tear of joy sparkling in her eye, drank the water; this being considered as the greatest 
proof of her fidelity and love." 

We gather from Howes's Additions to Stow's Chronicle, that, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, 
it was " the custome for maydes and gentilwomen to give their favorites, as tokens of their love, 
little Handkerchiefs of about three or foure inches square, wrought round about, and with a but- 
ton or a tassel at each corner, and a little one in the middle, with silke and threed ; the best edged 
with a small gold lace, or twist, which being foulded up in foure crosse foldes, so as the middle 
might be seene, gentlemen and others did usually weare them in their hatts, as favours of their 
loves and mistresses. Some cost six pence apiece, some twelve pence, and the richest sixteene 

In the old play of "The Vow-Breaker, or the fayre Maid of Clifton," 4to. Lond. 1636, Act. I. 
sc.,i. Miles, a miller, is introduced telling his sweetheart, on going away to the wars : " Mistress 
Ursula, 'tis not unknowne that I have lov'd you; if I die, it shall be for your sake, and it shall 
be valiantly: 1 leave an hand-kercher with you; 'tis wrought with blew Coventry : let me not, at 
my returne, fall to my old song, she had a clowte of mine sowde with blew Coventry, and so hang 
myself at your infidelity." 

The subsequent passage from " The Arraignment of lewd, idle, froward, and (inconstant Wo- 
men," 4to. Lond. 1632. points out some of the Vagaries of lovers of that age: "Some thinke, 
that if a woman smile on them she is presentlie over head and eares in love. One must weare her 
Glove, another her Garter, another her Colours of delight," &c. pp. 31, 32. As does the following; 
epigram of a still earlier date : 


complaining that Ricardo had artfully drawn her into a verbal Contract, she is 
asked by one of her suitors, "Stay, stay, you broke no Gold between you.' 
To which she answers, "We broke nothing, Sir." And, on his adding, ' 
drank to each other?'' she replies, Not a drop, Sir." Whence he draws this 
conclusion ; " that the contract cannot stand good in Law." 

The latter part of the Ceremony seems alluded to in the following passage in 
Middleton's play of " No Wit like a Woman's :" 

"Ev'n when my lip touch'd the contracting Cup," 

We find, in Hudibras, that the piece broken between the contracted Lovers 
must have been a crooked one : 

" Like Commendation Ninepence crook't, 
"With to and from my Love it looktV 

Part I. Canto i. 1. 48. 

" In Pigmeum. 

" Little Pigmeus weares his mistris Glove, 
Her Ring and Feather (favours of her love), 
Who could but laugh to see the little dwarfe 
Grace out himselfe with her imbrodered Scarfe, 
'Tis strange, yet true, her Glove, Ring, Scarfe, and Fan, 
Makes him (unhansome) a well favour'd man." 

House of Correction, or certayne satyricall Epigrams, 

written by J. H. gent. Svo. Lond. 161U. 

Bowed money appears antiently to have been sent as a Token of love and affection from one 
relation to another. Thus we read in " The Third Part of Conny-Catching," (a Tract of Queen 
Elizabeth's reign,) signat. B. 2. b. " Then taking fourth a bowed Groat, and an olde Pennie bowed, 
he gave it her as being sent from her uncle and aunt." 

In " The Country Wake," a comedy by Dogget, 4to. Lond. 1696, Act. v. sc. i. Hob, who fan- 
cies he is dying, before he makes his last will and testimony, as he calls it, when his Mother desires 
him to try to speak to Mary, "for she is thy wife, and no other," answers, " I know I'm sure to 
her and I do own it before you all ; I ask't her the question last Lammas, and at Allhollow's-tide 
we broke a piece of money ; and if I had liv'd till last Sunday we had been ask'd in the church." 

Mr. Douce's MS Notes say: "Analogous to the Interchangement of Rings seems the custom of 
breaking a piece of money. An example of tliis occurs in Bateman's Tragedy, a well-known penny 
history, chap. v. 

Swinburne on Spousals, p. 10, says : " Some Spousals are contracted by Signs, as the giving and 
receiving a Ring, others by words." 


a circumstance confirmed also in the Connoisseur, No. 56, with an additional 
Custom, of giving locks of hair woven in a true lover's knot. " If, in the course 
of their amour, the mistress gives the dear man her hair wove in a true lover's 
knot, or breaks a crooked ninepence with him, she thinks herself assured of his 
inviolate fidelity." 

This " bent Token" has not been overlooked by Gay : 

" A Ninepence bent 

A Token kind to Bumkinet is sent." 

Fiftli Pastoral, 1. 129. 

In the play of "The Vow-Breaker," already quoted, Act i. sc. 1. Young Bateman and Anne, 
we read : 

" Ba. Now, Nan, heres none but thou and I ; thy love 

Emboldens me to speake, and cheerfully 
Here is a peece of gold, 'tis but a little one, 
Yet big enough to ty and seale a knot, 
A jugall knot on earth, to which high Heaven 
Now cryes Amen, say thou so too, and then 
When eyther of us breakes this sacred bond, 
Let us be made strange spectacles to the world, 
To heaven, and earth. 
An. Amen, say I ; 

And let Heaven loth me when I falsifie." 

Afterwards, on young Bateman's return from the wars, during whose absence Anne has been 
induced by her father to marry another person, Anne says, " I am married. 
" Ba. I know thou art, to me, my fairest Nan : 

Our vowes were made to Heaven, and on Earth 

They must be ratifide : in part they are, 

By giving of a pledge, a peice of Gold: 

Which when we broke, joyntly then we swore, 

Alive or dead, for to enjoy each other, 

And so we will, spight of thy father's frownes." 

And afterwards, Act iii. sc. 1. Anne, seeing the ghost of young Bateman, who had hanged 
himself for her sake, exclaims : 

" It stares, beckons, points to the peece of Gold 

We brake betweene us, looke, looke there, here there!" 

In the " Scourge for Paper Persecutors," 4to. 1625, p. 11, we find the penance for anti-nuptial 
fornication : 

" Or wanton rig, or letcher dissolute, 

Doe stand at Paufs-Crosse in a theeten-tute." 


It appears to have been formerly a Custom also for those who were betrothed 
to wear some flower as an external and conspicuous mark of their mutual en- 
gagement : the conceit of choosing such short-lived emblems of their plighted 
Loves cannot be thought a very happy one. 

That such a Custom however did certainly prevail, we have the testimony of 
Spenser in his Shepherd's Calendar for April, as follows : 

" Bring Coronations and Sops in Wine 
Worn of Paramours." 

Sops in Wine were a species of Flowers among the smaller kind of single 
Gilli-flowers or Pinks f . 

A Joint Ring appears to have been antiently a common Token among be- 
trothed Lovers s. These, as we gather from the following beautiful passage in 

f Lyte's Herbal 1578, cited in Johnson and Steevens's Shakspearc, vol. x. p. 319. 
In (Quarle's Shepheard's Oracles, 4to. Lond. 1646, p. 63. is the following passage : 

" The Musick of the Oaten Reeils perswades 
Their hearts to mirth. 

And whilst they sport and dance, the love-sick swains 
Compose Rush-rings and Myrtlebernj chains, 
And stuck with glorious King-cups, and their Bonnets 
Adorn 'd with Lawrell-slips, chaunt their Love-sonnets, 
To stir the fires and to encrease the flames 
In the cold hearts of their beloved dames." 

S In Codrington's Second Part of " Youth's Behaviour, or Decency in Conversation amongst 
Women," &c. 8vo. Lond. 1664, p. 33. is the following very remarkable passage : " It is too often 
seen that young gentlewomen by gifts are courted to interchange, and to return the courtesie : Rings 
indeed and Ribbands are but trifles, but believe me, they are not trifles that are aimed at in such 
exchanges : let them therefore be counselled that they neither give nor receive any thing that after- 
wards may procure their shame," &c. 

In " Whimzies, or a new Cast of Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1631. the unknown author, in his 
Description of a Pedlar, Part ii. p. 21. has the following passage : can it allude to the custom of 
interchanging betrothing Rings ? " Saint Martin's Rings * and counterfeit Bracelets are commodi 

* In a rare Tract entitled " The Compters Commonwealth," 4to. Loiul. 1617, p. 28, is the following passage : 
" This kindnesse is but like Alchimy, or Saint Martin's Kings, that are faire to the eye and hare a rich outside, 
kat if a man should breake them asunder and looke into them, they are nothing but brasse and copper." 

So also in " Plaine Percevall the Peace-maker of England," i>. I. 4to. (No date, but on the subject of Martin 


Dryden's Play of Don Sebastian, (4to. Lond. 1690, p, 122.) were by no means 
confined to the lower orders of Society : 

" A curious Artist wrought 'em, 
With Joynts so close as not to be perceiv'd ; 
Yet are they both each others counter-part. 
(Her part had Juan inscrib'd, and his had Zayda. 
You know those names we>-e theirs :) and, in the midst, 
A Heart divided in two halves was plac'd. 
Now if the rivets of those Rings, inclos'd, 
Fit not tai.h other, I have forg'd this lye : 
But if they join, you must for ever part h ." 

ties of infinite consequence. They will passe for current at a May-pole, and purchase a favour from 
their May-Marian." 

h It appears from other passages in this play that one of these Rings was worn by Sebastian's 
Father : the other by Almeyda's Mother, as pledges of Love. Sebastian pulls oft' his, which had 
been put on his finger by his dying father : Almeyda does the same with hers which had been 
given her by her mother at parting : and Alvarez unscrews both the Rings, and fits one half to 
the other. 


In Herrick's Hesperides, p. 201, a " Jimmall Ring" is mentioned as a Love-token : 
" The Jimmal Ring, or True-love-knot. 

Thou sent'st to rne a True-love- Knot ; but I 
lleturn'd a Ring of Jimmals, to imply 
Thy Love had one knot, mine a triple-tye *. 

Marprelate), Signat. B. ii b. we read : " I doubt whether all be gold that glistereth, sith Saint Martin'i Rings 
be but copper within, though they be gilt without, sayes the Goldsmith." 

.* Jimmen (S. a local word) jointed Hinges. Bailey. Ray explains it "jointed Hinges," among his North 
Country Words, and adds: " in other parts called Wing-hinges." 

In the Comedy of Lingua, 1657, Act. ii. sc. 4. Anamnestes (Memory's Page) is described as having, amongst 
other things, " a Giminal Ring with one link hanging." Morgan, in his Sphere of Gentry, lib. iii. fol. 21. 
mentions three triple Gimbal Rings as born by the name of Hawberke. Co. Leicest. See Randal Holme, 
B. iii. chap. 2. p. 20. No. 45. 

The following remarkable passage is to be found in Greene's Menaphon, Sign. K. 4 b. : " "fwas a good werld 
when such simplicitie was used, sayes the olde women of our time, when a Ring of a Rush would tye as much 
love together as a Gimmon of Gold.' ' 

I have heard it supposed, and certainly with probability, that Gimmal is derived from Gemelli, twint. Mr 
Donee's MS Notes say : " Gemmell or Gemow Ring, a Ring with two or more Links. Cemellus. Se 


To the betrothing Contract under consideration must be referred, if I mistake 
not, and not to the Marriage Ceremony itself (to which latter, I own, however, the 
person who does not nicely discriminate betwixt them will be strongly tempted to 
incline,) the well-known passage on this subject in the last scene of Shaks- 
peare's Play of Twelfth Night. The Priest, who had been privy to all that had 
passed, is charged by Olivia to reveal the circumstances, which he does in 
the following lines : 

" A contract of eternal Bond of Love, 

Confinn'd by mutual joinder of your hands, 

Attested by the holy close of lips, 

Strengthen'd by interchangement of your Rings ; 

And all the ceremony of this Compact 

Seal'd in my function, by my testimony. 

All this too had been done at Olivia's express request, who, in a former part 
of the play, is introduced as thus addressing Sebastian : 

" Blame not this haste of mine : If you mean well, 
* Now go with me and with this holy man, 
Into the chantry by : there, before him, 
And underneath that consecrated roof, 
Plight me the full assurance of your faith' ; 

The difference between the betrothing or affiancing ceremony, and that of Marriage, is clearly- 
pointed out in the following passages : " Sponsalia non sunt de esscntia Sacramcnti Matrimonii, 
possuntque sine illius prajudicio omitti, sicut et pluribus in locis revera omittuntur," dit le Rituel 
d'Evreux. de 1'annee 1621. Le Concile Provincial de Reims en 1 5S3 dit : Sponsalia non nisi corain 
Parocho, vel ejus Vicario deincepsjiant, idque in Ecclesia &; non alibi." I-es Statuts Synodaux de 

Greenwood, in his English Grammar, p. 209, says: " So a Gimmal or Gimbal, i.e. a double or twisted Ring, 
from Gemellus : hence Gimbal and Jumbal are applied to other things twisted and twined after that manner." 

Swinburne, on Spousals, p. 208, tells us : " I do observe, that in former ages it was not tolerated to single 
or unmarried persons to wear Rings, unless they were Judges, Doctors, or Senators, or sueb like honourable 
persons : so that being destitute of such dignity, it was a note of vanity, laciviousness, and pride, for them to 
presume to wear a Ring, whereby we may collect how greatly they did honour and reverence the sacred 
estate of wedlock in times past, in permitting the parties affianced to be adorned with the honourable ornament 
of the Ring. 

[Some remarks on a Gimmal Ring, (apparently of the time of Queen Elizabeth,) found at Horsley-down in 
Surrey in 1800, will bo found in the Archseologia of the Society of Antiquaries, vol. xiv. p. 7,"] 


That my most jealous and too doubtful soul 
May live at peace : he shall conceal it 
Whiles you are willing it shall come to note ; 
What time we will our celebration keep 
According to my birth. What do you say ? 
Seb. I'll follow this good man, and go with you ; 
And, having sworn truth, ever will be true k ." 

Sens, en 1524. "Possunt prius et debtnt dare fidem inter se de Matrimonio contrahendo, et hoc palam 
in Ecclcsia et in prasentia Sacerdotis, &c." Traite des Superstitions, par M. Jean Baptiste Thiers, 
8vo. Par. 1704. torn. iv. p. 4*0. 

k I am at present by no means satisfied with the learned Comment of Mr. Steevens on these pas- 
sages, though at first I had hastily adopted it. But I will always dissent with great deference from 
such an authority. After my most painful researches, I can find no proof that in our antient 
ceremony at Marriages the Man received as well as gave the Ring : nor do T think the Custom at 
all exemplified by the quotation from Lupton's first book of Notable Things. The expression is 
equivocal, and " his Maryage Ring" I should think means no more than the Ring used at his 
Marriage, that which he gave and which his wife received -. at least we are not warranted to in- 
terpret it at present any otherwise, till some passage can actually be adduced frem the antient 
Manuscript Rituals to evince that there ever did at Marriages take place such " Interchangcmenf) 
of Rings," a custom which however certainly formed one of the most prominent features of thej 
ancient betrothing Ceremony. 

A MS Missal as old as the time of Richard the second, formerly the property of University 
College in Oxford, gives not the least intimation that the Woman too gave a Ring. 1 shall cite 
this afterwards under Marriage-Ceremonies. 

The following passage from Coats's Dictionary of Heraldry, 8vo. Lond. 1725. v. ANNULUS, would 
bear hard against me, were it supported by any other authority than that of an ipse dixit : " But, 
for my part, I believe the Rings married people gave one another do rather denote the Truth and 
Fidelity they owe to one another, than that they import any servitude." And yet concession must 
be made that the Bridegroom appears to have had a Ring given him as well as the Bride in the 
Diocese of Bourdeaux in France. " Dans le Diocese de Bourdeaux on donnoit, comme en Orient, 
au futur Epoux et a la future Epouse, chacun un Anneau en les epousant. Au muins cela est-il 
preterit par le Rituel de Bourdeaux (pp. 98, 99.) de 1596. Benedictio Annulorum. Benedic 
Domine, has Annulos, &c. Aspergat Sacerdos Annulos arras et circumstantes aqua benedicta. 
Deincle Sacerdos accipit alterum Annulum inter primos tres digitos, dicens, Benedic Domine hunc 
Annulum, &c. et infigit ilium in digitum quartum dertrx manus Sponsi, dicens, In nomine Patris, 
&c. Pari modo alterum Annulum accipit et benedicit ut supra, & tradit eum Sponso, qui accipiens 
ilium tribus digilis, infigit ilium in quarto digito manus dexteree ipsius Sponsce, &c." Traite des 
Superstitions, torn. iv. p. 512. The following, too, occurs Ibid. p. 513, " Certaines Gens en vue 


In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. ii. 8vo. Edinb. 
1792, p. 80, the Minister of Galston, in Ayrshire, informs us of a singular 
Custom there : " When a young Man wishes to pay his Addresses to his 
Sweetheart, instead of going to her Father's, and professing his passion, he 
goes to a public-house; and having let the Landlady into the secret of his 
attachment, the object of his wishes is immediately sent for, who never almost 
refuses to come. She is entertained with Ale and Whisky, or Brandy ; and 
the Marriage is concluded on. The second day after the Marriage a Creeling, 
as it is called, takes place. The young wedded pair, with their friends, assem- 
ble in a convenient spot. A small Creel, or Basket, is prepared for the occa- 
sion, into which they put some stones : the young Men carry it alternately, and 
allow themselves to be caught by the Maidens, who have a kiss when they 
succeed. After a great deal of innocent mirth and pleasantry, the Creel falls at 
length to the young Husband's share, who is obliged to carry it generally for a 
long lime, none of the young Women having compassion upon him. At last, 
his fair Mate kindly relieves him from his burden ; and her complaisance, in 
this particular, is considered as a proof of her satisfaction with the choice she 
has made. The Creel goes round again ; more merriment succeeds ; and all 
the Company dine together and talk over the feats of the field. 

" Perhaps the French phrase, ' Adieu panniers, vendanges sont faites,' may 
allude to a similar Custom." 

I heard a Gentleman say that he was told by Lord Macartney, that on the 
Day previous to the Marriage of the present Duke of York (by proxy) to the 
Princess of Prussia, a whole heap of potsherds was formed at her Royal High- 
ness's door, by persons coming and throwing them against it with considerable 

de se garentir tie malefice, font benir plusieurs Anneaux, quand iis Irouvent des prfetres assds 
ignorans, ou asses complaisans pour le faire, et les meltent tons dans le doigt annulaire de la 
maine gauche ou de la main droite de lews Epouses, car en certains Dioceses c'est k la main droite & 
en d'autres c'est a la main gauche, qu'on le donne aux nouvelles mariees, quoique le quatrieme 
Concile Provincial de Milan en 1576. ordonne qu'on le mette a la main gauche. (Constit. p. 3. 
n. 9.) Mais ils ne s(jauroient mettre ce mauvais Moien en pratique sans tomber dans la Superstition 
de la vaine observance, et dans celle de I' 'observance des Rencontres." 


violence, a Custom which obtains in Prussia, with all ranks, on the Day before 
a Virgin is married ; and that during this singular species of battery the Prin- 
cess, every now and then, came and peeped out at the door. 


AMONG the Customs used at Marriages, those of the RING and BRIDE- 
CAKE seem of the most remote antiquity. 

Confarreation and the Ring a were used antiently as binding Ceremonies by 
the Heathens b , in making Agreements, Grants c , &c. whence they have doubt- 
less been derived to the most solemn of our engagements. 

" Annulus Sponsce dono mittebatur a viro qui pronubus dictits. Alex, ab Alexandro, lib. ii. cap. 5. 
Et, mediante Annulo cnntrahitur Matrimonium Papanorum." Moresini Papatus. p. 12. 

It is farther observable that the joining together of the right Hands in the Marriage Ceremony, is 
from the same authority : " Dextra data, acceptaque invicem, Persae et Assyrii foedus Matrimonii 
ineunt. Alex, ab Alexandro. lib. ii. cap. 5. Papatus retinet." Ibid. p. 50. 

b Quintus Curtius tells us, Lib. i. de Gest. Alexandri M. " Et Rex medio Cupiditatis ardore jussit 
afferri patrio more PANEM (hoc erat apud Macedones sanctusimum coeimtium pignus) quern divisum 
gladio uterque libabat. 

The ceremony used at the solemnization of a Marriage was called Confarreation, in token of a 
most firm Conjunction between the Man and the Wife, with a Cake of Wheat or Barley. This, 
Blount tells us, is still retained in part, with us, by that which is called the Bride Cake used at 

Dr. MoSet, in his Health's Improvement, p. 218, informs us that " the English, when the 
Bride comes from Church, are wont to cast Wheat upon her Head; and when the Bride and Bride- 
groom return home, one presents them with a Pot of Butter, as presaging plenty, and abundance 
of all good things." 

This ceremony of Confarreation has not been omitted by the learned Moresin: " SUMANALI*,^ 
panis erat ad formam Rotx factus . hoc utuntur Papani in Nuptiis, &c." Papatus p. 165. Nor ' 
has it been overlooked by Herrick in his Hesperides. At p. 12S, speaking to the Bride, 

he says : 

" While some repeat 

Your praise, and bless you, sprinkling you with Wheat" 

See, also, Langley's Translation of Polydore Vergil, fol. 9 b. 

* [See note c in next page.] 


The supposed Heathen origin of our Marriage Ring d had well nigh caused the 

It was also a Hebrew Custom. See Selden's Uxor Hebraica, lib. ii. cap. xv. Opera, torn. iii. p. 633. 
In the same volume, p. 6C>8, is a passage much to our purpose : " Quanquam sacra quae fuere in 
Cifarreatione paganica, utpote Christianismo plane adversantia, sub ejusdem initia, etiam apud 
Paganos cvanufere nihilominus f arris ipsius Usus aliquis solennis in libis conjiciendis, dlffringendis, 
communiamdu, locis saltern in nonnullis semper obtinuit. Certe frcquentissimus apud Anglos est 
et antiquitus fuit liborum admodum grandium in nuptiis usus, quae BHIDE-CAKES, id est, liba 
sponsalitia sen nuptialia appellitant. Ea quae turn a Sponsis ipsis confecta turn ab propinquis 
amieisque solenniter muueri nuptiali data." , 

The connection between the Bride Cake and Wedding is strongly marked in the following 
Custom, still retained in Yorkshire, where the former is cut into little square pieces, thrown over 
the Bridegroom's and Bride's Head, and then put through the Ring. The Cake-is sometimes 
broken over the Bride's head, and then thrown away among the Crowd to be scrambled for. 
This is noted by the Author of the Convivial Antiquities in his Description of the Rites of Mar- 
riages in his country and time : " Peracta re divina Sponsa ad Sponsi domum deducitur, iadeque 
Panis projicitur, qui a pueris certatim rapitur." fol. 68. 

In the North, Slices of the Bride-Cako are put through the Wedding Ring : They are afterwards 
laid under pillows, at night, to cause young persons to dream of their Lovers. Mr. Douce's MS 
Notes say, this Custom is not peculiar to the North of England, it seems to prevail generally. 

The pieces of the Cake must be drawn nine times through the Wedding Rin- 


[Aubrey, in " the Remains of Gentilisme and Judaismc," MS. Lansd. Brit. Mus. ~8\o. Cat. 
No. 226, fol. 109 b. says: " When I was a little Boy, (before the Civil Wars) I have seen, accord- 
ing to the Custome then, the Bride and Bridegroome kisse over the Bride-Cakes at tfte Table. It 
was about the latter end of Dinner : and the Cakes were layd one upon another, like the picture 
of the Shew-Bread in the old Bibles. The Bridegroom waited at Dinner."] 

c The following extract is from an old Grant, cited in Du Cange's Glossary, v. CONFARHEATIO. 
" Miciacum concedimus et quicquid est Fisci nostri intra Fluminum alveos et per sanctum Confar- 
reationem et Annulnm inexceptionaliter tradimus." 

d The following thought on the Marriage Ring, from Herrick's Hesperides, p. 72, is well 
expressed : 

" And as this round 
Is no where found 

To flaw, or else to sever : 
So let our love 
As endlesse prove ; 

And pure as Gold for ever." 

The allusion both to the form and metal of which it is composed is elegant. Were it not too 
long, it would be the best Posie for a Wedding Ring that ever was devised. 


abolition of it, during the time of the Commonwealth. The facetious author of 
Hudibras gives us the following chief reasons why the Puritans wished it to be 
set aside : 

" Others were for abolishing 

That Tool of Matrimony, a Ring, 

With which th' unsanctify'd Bridegroom 

Is marry'd only to a Thumb ; 

(As wise as ringing of a Pig 

That us'd to break up Ground, and dig) 

The Bride to nothing but her Will, 

That nulls the After-Marriage still." 

P. 3, c. ii. 1. 303. 

The Wedding Ring is worn on the fourth Finger of the left Hand, because it 
was antiently believed, though the opinion has been justly exploded by the 
Anatomists of modern times, that a small Artery ran from this Finger to the 
Heart. Whe"atley, on the authority of the Missals 6 , calls it a Vein. " It is," 

Vallancey, in his Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, No. xiii. p. f)S, says that " there is a passage 
in Ruth, chap. iv. v. 7, which gives room to think the-. Ring was used by the Jews as a Covenant." 
He adds, that the Vulgate have translated Narthidc (which ought to be a Ring) a Shoe. " In Irish 
Nuirt is an Amulet worn on the Finger, or Arm, a Ring." Sphara Solis est Narthick, says Bux- 
torf in his Chaldee Lexicon. 

Leo Modena, in his " History of the Rites, Customcs, and Manner of Life of the present Jews 
throughout the World," translated by Edm. Chilmead, 8vo. Lond. 1(550, p. 176, speaking of their 
Contracts and manner of Marrying, says that before the Writing of the Bride's Dowry is produced 
and read, " the Bridegroom putteth a Ring upon her Finger, in the presence of two Witnesses, 
which commonly use to be the Rabbines, saying withal unto her : ' Behold, thou art iny espouse-o 
Wife, according to the Custome of Moses and of Israel'." 

In Swinburne's Treatise of Spousals, p. 207, we read : " The first Inventor of the Ring, as is 
reported, (he cites Alberic de Rosa in suo Dictionar. v. Annulus) was one Prometheus. The work- 
man which made it was Tubal-Cain : and Tubal-Cain, by the counsel of our first parent Adam, (as my 
Author telleth me) gave it unto his Son to this end, that therewith he should espouse a Wife, like 
as Abraham delivered unto his Servant Bracelets and Ear-rings of Gold. The form of the Ring being 
circular, that is round and without end, importeth thus much, that their mutual love and hearty 
affection sltould roundly flow from the one to the other as in a Circle, and that continually and for ever." 

In the Hereford, York, and Salisbury Missals the Ring is directed to be put first upon the 
Thumb, afterwards upon the second, then on the third, and lastly on the fourth Finger, where 
it is to remain, " quia in illo digito est quedam vena procedens usque ad Cor." 

VOL. ii. r 


says he, " because from thence there proceeds a particular Vein to the Heart. 
This, indeed," he adds, " is now contradicted by experience : but several 
eminent authors,' as well Gentiles as Christians, as well Physicians as Divines, 
were formerly of this opinion, and therefore they thought this Finger the pro- 
perest to bear this pledge of love, that from thence it might be conveyed, as it 
were, to the Heart*." 

It is very observable that none of the above Missals mention the Hand, whether right or left, 
upon which the Ring is to be put. This has been noticed by Selden in his Uxor Hebraica: 
" Digito quarto, sed non liquet dextene an sinistrae manus." 

The Hereford Missal enquires: "(Qiiaero quae est ratio ista, quare Anulus ponatur in quarto 
digilo cum pollice computato, quam in secundo vel tercio ? Isidorus dicit quod quoedam vena 
extendit se a digito illo usque ad Cor, et dat intelligere unitatem et perfectionem Arnoris." 

It appears from Aulus Gellius, lib. x. cap. 10, that the antient Greeks and most of the Romans 
wore the Ring " in eo digito qui est in manu sinistra minimo proximus." He adds, on the authority 
of Appion, that a small Nerve runs from this Finger to the Heart: and that therefore it was 
honoured with the office of bearing the Ring, on account of its connexion with that master mover 
of the vital functions. 

Macrobius (Saturnal. lib. vii. cap. 13.) assigns the same reason : but also quotes the opinion of 
Atcius Capito, that the right hand was exempt from this office, because it was much more used 
than the left hand, and therefore the precious stones of the Rings were liable to be broken : and 
that the Finger of the left Hand was selected, which was the least used. 

Gent. Mag. for Sept. 1795, vol. Ixv. p. 727. 

For the Ring's having been used by the Romans at their Marriages consult Juvenal, Sat. vi. v. 27. 

( Wheatley on the Common Prayer, Svo. Lond. ... p. 437. Levinus Lenmius tells us, speak- 
ing of the Ring-finger that " a small branch of the Arterie, and not of the Nerves, as Gellius 
thought, is stretched forth from the Heart unto this Finger, the motion whereof you shall perceive 
evidently in Women with Child and wearied in Travel, and all Affects of the Heart, by the touch 
of your fore finger. I use to raise such as are fallen in a Swoond by pinching this Joynt, and 
by rubbing the Ring of Gold with a little Saffron, for by this a restoring force that is in it, passeth 
to the Heart, and refreshed! the Fountain of Life, unto which this Finger is joyn'd : wherefore it 
deserved that honour above the rest, and Antiquity thought fit to compasse it about with Gold. 
Also the worth of this Finger that it receives from the Heart, procured thus much, that the old 
Physitians, from whence also it hath the name of Medicus, would mingle their Medicaments and 
Potions with this Finger, for no Venom can stick upon the very outmost part of it, but it will 
offend a Man, and communicate itself to his Heart." English Translat. fol. Lond. 1658, p. 109. 

To a Querist in the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1708, vol. i. No. 18. " Why is it that the Person 
to be married is enjoyned to put a Ring upon the fourth Finger of his Spouse's left Hand ?" it is 
answered, " There is nothing more in this, than that the Custom was handed down to the present 


Many married Women are so rigid, not to say superstitious, in their notions e 
concerning their Wedding Rings, that neither when they wash their Hands, nor 
at any other time, will they take it off from their Finger, extending, it should 
seem, the expression of " till Death us do part" even to this golden circlet, the 
token and pledge of Matrimony 11 . 

There is an old Proverb on the subject of Wedding Rings, which has no 
doubt been many a time quoted for the purpose of encouraging and hastening 
the Consent of a diffident or timorous Mistress : 

age from the practice of our Ancestors, who found the left Hand more convenient for such Orna- 
ments than the right, in that it's ever less employed, for the same reason they chose the fourth 
Finger, which is not only less used than either of the rest, but is more capable of preserving a 
Ring from bruises, having this one quality peculiar to itself, that it cannot be extended but in 
company with some other Finger, whereas the rest may be singly stretched to their full length 
and streightness. 

" Some are of the Ancients' opinion in this matter, viz. that the Ring was so worn, because to 
that Finger, and to that only, comes an Artery from the Heart. But the politer knowledge of our 
modern Anatomists having clearly demonstrated the absurdity of that notion, we are rather 
inclined to believe the continuance of the Custom owing to the reason above-mentioned." 

See also the British Apollo, Vol. i. No. 3. Supernumerary for June. 

In a scarce Tract in my Collection, entitled " A Briefe Discourse of a Disease called the 
Suffocation of the Mother : written upon Occasion which hath beene of late taken thereby, to 
suspect possession of an evill Spirit, or some such like supernatural power, &c. by Edward Jorden, 
Doctor in Physicke," 4to. Lond. 1603, (Dedicated to the College of Physicians of London,) the 
learned Author in a list of " superstitious Remedies which have crept into our Profession," 
mentions a whimsical Superstition relating to the Wedding Ring, which need not be repeated. 

k This may have originated in the popish HALLOWING of this Ring, of which the following 
Form occurs in " The Doctrine of the Masse Bookc, from Wyttonberge by Nicholas Dorcastor, 
8vo. 1554, Signal. C. 6. b. " The Halowing of the Woman's Ring at Wedding. ' Thou Maker 
and Conserver of Mankinde, Gever of spiritual Grace and Graunter of eternal Salvation, Lord, 
send thy gg blessing upon this Ring," (Here the Protestant Translator observes in the margin, " Is 
not here wise geare ?") " that she which shall weare it, maye be armed wyth the vertue of heavenly 
defence, and that it maye profit her to eternall Salvation, thorowe Christ, &c. 

' A Prayer. 

Q3 ' Halow thouLord this Ring which we blesse in thy holye Name : that what Woman soever shall 
weare it, may standfast in thy peace, and continue in thy wyl, and live and grow and waxe old in thy 
love, _and be multiplied into that length of daies, thorow our Lord, &c." 

" Then let holy Water be sprinkled upon the Ryng." 


" As your Wedding-Ring wears, 
Your Cares will wear away." 

Columbiere, speaking of Rings, says : " The Hieroglyphic of the Ring is very 
various. Some of the Antients made it to denote Servitude, alledging that the 
Bridegroom was to give it to his Bride, to denote to her that she is to be sub- 
ject to him, which Pythagoras seemed to confirm, when he prohibited wearing a 
streight Ring, that is, not to submit to over-rigid servitude'." 

Rings appear to have been given away formerly at Weddings. In Wood's 
Athenae Oxonienses, vol. i. p. 280. we read in the Account of the famous Phi- 
losopher of Queen Elizabeth's days, Edward Kelley, " Kelley, who was 
openly profuse beyond the modest limits of a sober Philosopher, did give away 
in Gold-wire- Rings, (or Rings twisted with three gold-wires,) at the marriage 
of one of his Maid-Servants, to the value of ,^=4000." This was in 1589, at 

In Davison's Poetical Rapsody, 8vo. Lond. 1611, p. 93. occurs the follow- 
ing beautiful Sonnet : 

" Upon sending his Mistresse a Gold Ring, with this Poetic, 

" If you would know the love which I you beare, 

Compare it to the Ring which your faire hand 
Shall make more precious, when you shall it weare: 

So my Love's nature you shall understand. 
Is it of met tall pure ? so you shall prove 

My Love, which ne're disloyall thought did staine. 
Hath it no end 9 so endlesse is my Love, 

Unlesse you it destroy with your disdaine. 
Doth it the purer waxe the more 'tis tri'de ? 

So doth my Love: yet herein they dissent, 
That whereas Gold the more 'tis purifide, 

By waxing lesse, doth shew some part is spent. 
My Love doth waxe more pure by your more trying, 
And yet encreaseth'in the purifying." 

1 Coats. Diet, of Heraldry, r. Annulet. 


A still more beautiful allusion to the emblematical properties of the Wedding 
Ring occurs in a " Collection of Poems," 8vo. Dubl. 1801. p. 118. 

" To <$***** Z) ****** with a Ring. 

" Emblem of Happiness, not bought, nor sold, 

Accept this modest Ring of virgin Gold. 

Love in the small, but perfect, Circle, trace, 

And Duty, in its soft, though strict embrace. 

Plain, precious, pure, as best becomes the Wife ; 

Yet firm to bear the frequent rubs of Life. 

Connubial Love disdains a fragile Toy, 

Which Rust can tarnish, or a Touch destroy ; 

Nor much admires what courts the gen'ral gaze, 

The dazzling Diamond's meretricious blaze, 

That hides, with glare, the anguish of a Heart 

By Nature hard, tho' polish'd bright by Art 

More to thy Taste the ornament that shows 

Domestic bliss, and, without glaring, glows. 

Whose gentle pressure serves to keep the mind 

To all correct, to one discreetly kind. 

Of simple elegance th' unconcious charm, 

The holy Amulet to keep from harm ; 

To guard at once and consecrate the Shrine, 

Take this dear pledge It makes and keeps thee mine fc." 

A remarkable Superstition still prevails among the lowest of our Vulgar, that 
a Man may lawfully sell his Wife to another, provided he deliver her over with 
a Halter about her Neck. It is painful to observe, that instances of this occur 
frequently in our Newspapers. 

k " To Phabe, presenting her with a Ring. 
" Accept, fair Maid, this earnest of my Love, 
Be this the Type, let this my Passion prove : 
Thus may our joy in endless Circles run, 
Fresh as the Light, and restless as the Sun : 
Thus may our Lives be one perpetual round, 
Nor Care nor Sorrow ever shall be found." 

Woodward's Poems, Svo. Oxf. 1730, p. 44. 


Every one knows that in England, during the time of the Commonwealth, 
Justices of peace were empowered to marry people. A jeu d'esprit on this sub- 
ject may be found in Richard Flecknoe's Diarium, &c. 8vo. Lond. 1656, p. 83, 
"On the Justice of Peace's making Marriages, and the crying them in the 


A custom extremely hurtful to the interests of morality appears antiently to 
have prevailed both in England and other countries, of marrying with a RUSH 
RING; chiefly practised, however, by designing men, for the purpose of de- 
bauching their mistresses, who sometimes were so infatuated as to believe that 
this mock ceremony was a real Marriage a . 

* See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 1803. vol. viii. p. 272. That this Custom prevailed in France ap- 
pears from the following passage in Du Breul's " Theatre des Antiquitez de Paris," 4to. Par. 1622. 
p. 90: " Quant a la Cour de 1'Oflicial, il se presente quelquns personnes qui out forfaict a leur 
honneur, la chose estant averee, si Ton ny peult remedier autrement pour sauver 1'honneur des 
Maisons, 1'on a accoustume"e d'amener en ladicte Eglise I'homme & la femme qui out forfaict en 
leur honneur, et la estans conduicts par deux Sergents (an cas qu'ils n'y veulent venir de leur 
bonne volonte) il sont espousez ensemble par le Curb dudict lieu avec un Anneau de Faille: leur en- 
joignant de vivre en paix & amiti6, & ainsi couvrir 1'honneur des Parens et Amis ausquels ils appar- 
tiennent, & sauver leurs Ames dudanger ou ils s'estoient mis par leur peche & offense." 

One of the Constitutions of Richard Bishop of Salisbury, in 1217, cited by Du Cange, in his 
Glossary, v. Annulus, says : " Nee quisquam Annulum de Junco vel quacwKfue vili materia vel pre- 
tiosa, jocando manibus innectat muliercularum, ut liberius cum eis ibrnicetur : ne dum jocari se 
putat, honoribus matrimonialibus se astringat." 

Mr. Douce refers Shakspeare's expression, "Tib's Rush for Tom's forefinger," which has so 
long puzzled the Commentators, to this custom. 

"L'Omcial marie dans 1' Eglise de St. Marine ceux qui ont forfeit a leur honneur, ou ils sont 
epouses ensemble par le Cure du lieu avec un Anneau de Paille." Sausal Antiq. de Paris, torn. i. 
p. 429. " Pour faire observer, sans doute," adds the Editor of " Le Voyageur a Paris," torn. iii. 
p. 156, "au Man, combien etoit fragile la vertu de celle, qu'il choisissait." 

Compare also the " Traitc des Superstitions par M. Thiers," torn. iii. p. 462, where Bishop 
Poore's Constitution is also quoted. 



* '~ i .' ' ) ' 

A Knot, among the anlient Northern Nations, seems to have been the sym- 
bol of love, faith, and friendship, pointing out the indissoluble tie of affection 
and duty. Thus the antient Runic Inscriptions, as we gather from Hickes's 
Thesaurus*, are in the form of a Knot. Hence, among the Northern English 
and Scots, who still retain in a great measure, the language and manners of 
the antient Danes, that curious kind of Knot, a mutual present between the 
lover and his mistress, which, being considered as the emblem of plighted fi- 
delity, is therefore called a True-love Knot : a name which is not derived, as 
one would naturally suppose it to be, from the words "True" and "Love," but 
formed from the Danish verb " Trulofa" fidem do, I plight my troth, or faith. 
Thus we read, in the Islandic Gospels, the following passage in the first chapter 
of St. Matthew's, which confirms, beyond a doubt, the sense here given "til 
einrar Meyar er trulofad var einum Manne," c. i. e. to a Virgin espoused, 
that is, who was promised, or had engaged herself to a man, &c. 

a Gramm. Island, p. 4. " In his autem Monumentis, ut in id genus fere omnibus, Inscriptionum 
Runs in nodis sive gyris nodorum insculptse leguntur, propterea quod apud veteres Septen- 
trionales gentes Nodus amoris, fidei, amicitioe Symbolum fuisse videtur, ut quod insolubilem pie- 
tatis et affectus nexum significavit. Hinc apud Boreales Anglos, Scotosque, qui Danorum vete- 
rum turn sermonem, turn mores magna ex parte adhuc retinent, Nodus in gyros curiose ductus, 
fidei & promissionis quarn Amasius et Amasia dare solent invicem, Symbolum servatur, quodque 
ideo vocant A True-love-Knot, a veteri Danico Trtilofa fidem do. Hinc etiam apud Anglos 
Scotosque consuetude reportandi capitalia donata curiose in gyros nodosque torta a solennibus 
Nupliis plane quasi Symbola insolubilis fidei et affectus, qua Sponsum inter et Sponsam esse 

Many of these Runic Knots are engraved in Sturleson's History of Stockholm. 

The following is found in Selden's Uxor Hebraica : (Opera, torn. iii. p. 6?O.) "Quin et post 
Benedictionem per vittae candidae permistione et purpureee unum invicem vinculum, (Modum 
amatorium, a True-Loves Knot,) copulabantur, inquit Isidorus, videlicet, ne Compagem conju- 
galis unitatis disrumpant." 

Sir Thomas Browne, in his Vulgar Errors, says : " The True-Lover's Knot is much magnified, 
and still retained in presents of love among us ; which, though in all points it cloth not make out, 


Hence, evidently, the Bride Favours, or the Top-knots, at Marriages, which 
have been considered as emblems of the ties of duty and affection between the 
bride and her spouse, have been derived 15 . 

Bride Favours appear to have been worn by the peasantry of France, on si- 
milar occasions, on the arm. In England these Knots of Ribbons were distri- 
buted in great abundance formerly, even at the marriages of persons of the first 
distinction. They were worn at the hat, (the gentleman's, I suppose,) and con- 
had, perhaps, its original from Nodus Herculanus, or that which was called Hercules' his Knot, 
resembling the snaky complication in the Caduceus, or Rod of Hermes, and in which form the 
Zone or woollen Girdle of the bride was fastened, as Turnebus observes in his Adversaria." 

b The following beautifull madrigal], entitled, " The Tme-love's Knot," occurs in Davison's 
"Poetical Rapsody," 8vo. Lond. 1611, p. 216 : 

" Love is the linke, the knot, the band of unity, 
And all that love, do love with their belov'd to be : 

Love only did decree 

To change his kind in me. 

For though I lov'd with all the powers of my mind. 
And though my restles thoughts their rest in her did finde, 

Yet are my hopes declinde, 

Sith she is most unkinde. 

For since her beauties sun my fruitles hope did breede, 
By absence from that sun I hop't to sterve that weede ; 

Though absence did, indeede, 

My hopes not sterve, but feede. 
For when I shift my place, like to the stricken Deere, 
I cannot shift the shaft which in my side I beare : 

By me it resteth there, 

The cause is not else where. 

So have I seene the sicke to turne and turne againe, 
As if that outward change, could ease his inward paine : 

But still, alas ! in vaine, 

The fit doth still remaine. 

Yet goodnes is the spring from whence this ill doth grow, 
For goodnes caus'd the love, which great respect did owe, 

Respect true love did show ; 

True love thus wrought my woe." 


sisted of ribbons of various colours . If I mistake not, white ribbons are the 
only ones used at present. 

Gay, in his Pastoral called the Spell, thus beautifully describes the rustic manner of knitting 
the True-Love-Knot : 

" As Lubberkin once slept beneath a tree, 
I twitch'd his dangling Garter from his knee j 
He wist not when the hempen string I drew ; 
Now mine I quickly doff of Inkle blue; 
Together fast I tie the Garters twain, 
And, while I knit the Knot, repeat this Strain 
Three times a True-Love's Knot I tye secure : 
Firm be the Knot, firm may his Love endure." 

Another species of Knot divination is given in the Connoisseur, No. 56 : " Whenever I go to 
lye in a strange bed, I always tye my Garter nine times round the bed-post, and knit nine Knots 
in it, and say to myself: ' This Knot I knit, this Knot I tye, to see my Love as he goes by, in 
his apparel'd array, as he walks in every day'." 

I find the following passage in the Merry Devil of Edmonton, 4to. 1631 : 

"With pardon, Sir, that name is quite undon, 
This True-Love-Knot cancelles both maide and nun." 

c See Misson's Travels in England, 8vo. a la Haye, 1696. p. 317: " Atitrefois en France ou 
donnoit des livrees de Noces ; quelque Noeud de Ruban que les Conviez portoient attache" sur le 
bras : mais cela ne se pratique plus que parmi les paisans. En Angleterre on le fait encore chez 
les plus grands Seigneurs. Ces Rubans s'appellent des Faveurs, et on en donne non seulement a 
ceux de la N6ce, mais a cinq Cens person nes : On en envoye & on en distribue a la Maison. 
L'autre Jour, lorsque le Fils aine de Monsieur d'Ouwerkerque espousa la Soeur du Due d'Ormond, 
ils repandirent une Inondation de ces petites Faveurs (c'etoit un assez gros Noeud de Rubans 
melez, Or, Argent, incarnat, et blanc. Cela se porte sur le Chapeau pendant quelques Semaines) 
on ne recontroit autre chose. I) y en avoit depuis le Chapeau du Rois, jusqu'a ceux du com- 
mune Domestique. Chez les Bourgeois et les simple gentils homines, on donn quelque fois 
aussi des Faveurs : mais il est fort ordinaire d'eviter en general tout ce que fait la depense." 

" Ozell, in a note to his translation of Misson, p. 35O, says : " The Favour was a large knot of 
ribbands, of several colours, gold, silver, carnation, and white. This is worn upon the hat for 
some weeks." 

Another Note, in p 351, says : " It is ridiculous to go to a wedding without new cloaths. If 
you are in mourning, you throw it off for some days, unless you are in mourning for some near 
relation that is very lately dead." 

In " Paradoxical Assertions and Philosophical Problems," by R. H. 8vo. Lond. 1664, p. 19, we 
read : " I shall appeal to any Enamoreto but newly married, whether he took not more pleasure 



To this variety of colours in the Bride Favours used formerly, the following 
passage, wherein Lady Haughty addresses Morose, in Jonson's play of the 
Silent Woman, evidently alludes : 

" Let us know your Bride's colours and yours at least." 

The Bride Favours have not been omitted in the Northern provincial Poem 
of " The Collier's Wedding :" 

"The blithsome, bucksome country Maids, 
With Knots of Ribbands at their heads, 
And pinners flutt'ring in the wind, 
That fan before and toss behind," &c. 

And, speaking of the Youth, with the Bridegroom, it says : 
" Like streamers in the painted sky, 
At every breast the Favours fly d ." 


The use of Bride Maids at Weddings appears as old as the time of the 
Anglo Saxons : among whom, as Strutt informs us, " the Bride was led by a 

in weaving innocent True-love Knots, than in untying the virgin zone, or knitting that more than 
Gordian Knot, which none but that invincible Alexander, Death, can untye ?" 

d In a curious old book, (my copy wants the title,) called, " The Fifteen Comforts of Marriage," 
a conference is introduced at pp. 44, 47, and 48, concerning bridal colours in dressing up the 
bridal bed by the Bride-maids not, say they, with yellow ribbands, these are the emblems of jea- 
lousy not with " Fueille mort," that signifies fading love but with true-blue, that signifies con- 
stancy, and green denotes youth put them both together, and there's youthful constancy. One 
proposed blew and black, that signifies constancy till death ; but that was objected to, as those 
colours will never match. Violet was proposed as signifying religion ; this was objected to as being 
too grave : and at last they concluded to mingle a gold tissue with grass-green, which latter signifies 
youthful jollity. 

For the Bride's Favours, Top-knots, and Garters, the Bride proposed Blew, Gold-colour, Popin- 
gay-Green, and Limon-colour, objected to, Gold-colour signifying avarice Popingay- Green, 

The younger Bride-maid proposed mixtures Flame-colour Flesh-colour Willow and Milk- 
white. The second and third were objected to, as Flesh-colour signifies lascivkmsness, and Wil- 
low forsaken. 


Matron, who was called the Bride's Woman, followed by a company of young 
Maidens, who were called the Bride's Maids*." 

The Bride Maids and Bridegroom Men are both mentioned by the Author 
of the Convivial Antiquities, in his Description of the Rites at Marriages in his 
Country and Time b . 

In later times it was among the offices of the Bride Maids to lead the Bride- 
groom to Church, as it was the duty of the Bridegroom's Men to conduct the 
Bride thither*. 

It was settled that Red signifies justice, and Sea-green inconstancy. The milliner, at last, fixed 
the colours as follows : for the Favours, Blue, Red, Peach-colour, and Orange-tawney : for the 
young ladies' Top-knots, Flame-colour, straw-colour, (signifying plenty,) Peach-colour, Grass- 
green, and Milk-white : and for the Garters, a perfect Yellow, signifying honour and joy. 

The following allusion to Bride-Favours is from Herrick's Hespeiides, p. 252 : 

" What posies for our wedding-rings, 
What gloves we'l give, and ribbanings." 

In the Gent. Mag. for October 1733, vol. iii. p. 545, are "Verses sent by a young Lady, lately 
married, to a quondam Lover, inclosing a green ribbon noozed*:" 

" Dear D. 

" In Betty lost, consider what you lose, 
And, for the Bridal Knot, accept this Nooze ; 
The healing ribbon, dextrously apply'd, 
Will make you bear the loss of such a bride." 

There is a retort courteous to this very unlady like intimation, that the discarded Lover may go 
hang himself, but it is not worth inserting. 

* Manners and Customs, vol. i. p. 76. 

b " Antequam eatur ad Templum Jentaculum Sponsae et invitatis appor.itur, Serta atque Co- 
rollae distribuuntur. Postea certo ordine Viri primum cum Sponso, deinde Puella? cum Sponsa in 
Templum procedunt." Antiquitat. Convivial, fol. 68. 

e It is stated in the Account of the Marriage Ceremonials of Philip Herbert and the Lady Susan, 
performed at Whitehall in the reign of James I. that " the Prince and the Duke of Hoist, led the 
Bride to church." 

In the old History of John Newchombe, the wealthy Clothier of Newbury, cited by Strutt, 

* Thus Cunningham : 

"A Top-knot he bought her, and Garters of Green; 

Pert Susan was cruelly stung : 
I hate her so much, that, to kill her with spleen, 
1 'd wed, if I were not too younj." 


This has not been overlooked in the provincial Poem of the Collier's 
Wedding : 

"Two lusty lads, well drest and strong, 
Step'd out to lead the Bride along: 
And two young Maids, of equal size d , 
As soon the Bridegroom's hands surprize 6 ." 

It was an invariable rule for the Men always to depart the Room till the Bride 
was undressed by her Maids and put to bed. 


These appear antiently to have had the title of Bride-Knights". Those who 
led the Bride to Church were always Bachelors : but she was to be conducted 

vol. iii. p. 154, speaking of his Bride, it is said, that "after hee, came the chiefest maidens of the 
country, some bearing Bride-cakes, and some Garlands, made of wheat finely gilded, and so 
passed to the church." " She was led to Church between two sweet boys, with Bride-laces 
and Rosemary tied about their silken sleeves : the one was Sir Thomas Parry, the other Sir Francis 

d In the old play of "A Woman is a Weather-Cocke," Act 1. sc. i. on a marriage going to be 
solemnized, Count Fredericke says, " My Bride will never be readie, I thinke : heer are the other 
sisters." Pendant observes : " Looke you, my Lorde : there's Lucida weares the Willow-garland 
for you ; and will so go to church, I hear." As Lucida enters with a Willow-garland, she says : 
" But since my sister he hath made his choise, 
This wreath of Willow, that begirts my browes, 
Shall never leave to be my ornament 
Till he be dead, or I be married to him." 

Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man, (Works, fol. p. 169,) speaking of the Manks 
weddings, says: "They have Bride-Men and Brides-Maids, who lead the young couple, as in 
England, only with this difference, that the former have Ozier Wands in their hands, as an 
emblem of superiority." 

In Christopher Brooke's England's Helicon, Signal. R. b. we read : 

" Forth, honour'd Groome ; behold, not farre behind, 

Your willing Bride, led by two strengthlesse boyes.-" 
marked in the margin opposite, " Going to Church Bride-Boyes." 

" Paranymphi ejusrnodiseu Sponsi amici appellantur etiam viol .-tu vu^os (Matth. ix. 15.) filii 


home by two married persons'". Polydore Vergil, who wrote in the time of 
Henry the Eighth, informs us that a third married Man, in coming home from 
Church, preceded the Bride, bearing, instead of a Torch, a Vessel of silver or 
gold . Moresin relates that to the Bachelors and Married Men who led the 
Bride to and from Church, she was wont to present Gloves for that service du- 
ring the time of Dinner d . 

It was part of the Bridegroom Men's office to put him to bed to the Bride, 
after having undressed him. 

thalami nuptialis ; qua de re optime vir prsestantissimus Hugo Grotius. Singulare habetur et apud 
nos nomen ejusmodi eorum quos Bride-Knights, id est, Ministros Sponsalitios qui Sponsam dedu- 
cere solent, appellitamus." Seldeni Uxor Hebraica. Opera, torn. iii. p. 638. 

He gives, ibid, a Chapter " de Paranymphis Hebreorum Sponsi Amicis, in utroque Foederc dictis 
et in Novo Filiis Thalami nuptialis." 

t> The following passage is in Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady : " Were these two arms 
encompassed with the hands of Bachelors to lead me to the Church ?" 

c " In Anglia servatur ut duo pueri, velut Paranymphi, id est, Auspices, quiolimpro nuptiis 
celebrandis Auspicia capiebant, nubentem ad Templmn et inde domum duo viri deducant, et ter- 
tius loco facis, VASCULUM aureum, vel argenteum praeferat." 

This was called " The Bride-Cup." So we read in the account of the Marriage of John New- 
chombe, the wealthy Clothier of Newbury, (cited by Strutt, ut supra) where speaking of the Bride's 
being led to Church, it is added by the writer that " there was a fair Bride Cup, of Silver gilt, 
carried before her, wherein was a goodly Branch of Rosemary, gilded very fair, and hung about 
with silken ribbands of all colours." 

It is remarkable that Strutt, (vol. i. p. 77.) should be at a loss to explain a Man with a Cup in his 
hand, in plate xiii. fig. 1. representing a Marriage. 

In " A Pleasant History of the first Founders," &c. 8vo. p. 57. we read : " At Rome the manner 
was that two Children should lead the Bride, and a third bear before her a Torch of White-Thorn 
in honour of Ceres, which customs was also observed here in England, saving that in place of the 
Torch, there was carried before the Bride a Bason of Gold or Silver; a Garland also of Corn Eares 
was set upon'her head, or else she bare it on her hand ; or, if that were omitted, Wheat was scat- 
tered over her head in token of Fruitfulness ; as also before she came to bed to her Husband, Fire 
and Water were given her, which, having power to purifie and cleanse, signified that thereby 
she should be chast and pure in her body. Neither was she to step over the Threshold, but was to 
be borne over to signifie that she lost her Virginity unwillingly, with many other superstitious Ce- 
remonies, which are too long to rehearse." 

d " In Anglia adhuc duo pueri medium in templum, prajcedente Tibicine, defemnt nupturam, duo 
jonjugati referunt, his, tempore Prandii, ob preestitam operam'nova Nupta dat Chirothecas." Par 
patus, pp.114. 115. 



before the BRIDEGROOM and BRIDE 

in their Way to Church : 

as also 
The WEARING NOSEGAYS on the Occasion. 

There was antiently a Custom at Marriages of strewing Herbs and Flow, 
ers, as also Rushes, from the House or Houses where persons betrothed resided 
to the Church 1 . 

* The following is in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 129. 

" Glide by the Banks of Virgins then, and passe 
The Showers of Roses, lucky-foure-leav'd Grasse : 
The while the cloud of younglings sing, 
And drown ye with a flowrie Spring." 

As is the subsequent, in Brathwaite's " Strappado for the Divell," Svo. Lond. 1615, p. 74. 

" All haile to Hymen and his Marriage Day, 
Strew Rushes and quickly come away ; 
Strew Rushes, Maides, and ever as you strew, 
Think one day, Maides, like will be done for you." 

So likewise Browne's Britannia's Pastorals, p. 50. Every one will call to mind the passage in 
Shakspeare to this purpose : 

" Our Bridal Flowers serve for a buried Corse." 

Armin's " History of the Two Maids of Moreclacke," 4to. 1609, opens thus, preparatory to a 
Wedding : " Enter a Maid strewing Flowers, and a Serving-man perfuming the door. The Maid 
says ' strew, strew' the man ' the Muscadine stays for the Bride at Church'." 
So in Christoph. Brooke's Epithalamium in England's Helbon, Signat. R. 1 b : 
" Nowbusie Maydens strew sweet Flowres." 


The strewing Herbs and Flowers on this occasion, as mentioned in a Note 
upon the old Play of Ram Alley, (see Reed's old Plays, vol. v. p. 503.) to have 
been practised formerly, is still kept up in Kent and many other parts of 

England b . 

In " Ram Alley, or Merry Tricks/' 4to. Lond. 1636, Signal. H 4. we read : " Enter Adriana, and 
another strawing hearbes." 

" Adr. Come straw apace, Lord shall I never live, 
To walke to Church on flowers ? O 'tis fine, 
To see a Bride trip it to Church so lightly, 
As if her new Choppines would scorne to bruze 
A silly flower ?" 

In "Oxford Drollery," 8vo. Oxford, 1671, p. 118. is a Poem stiled "A Supposition," in which 
the Custom of strewing Herbs is thus alluded to : 

" Suppose the way with fragrant Herbs were strowing, 
All things were ready, we to Church were going : 
And now suppose the Priest had joyn'd our hands, &c." 

" Tis worthy of remark that something like the antient custom of strewing the threshold of a 
new married Couple with Flowers and Greens, is, at this day, practised in Holland. Among the 
Festoons and Foliage, the Laurel was always most conspicuous : this denoted no doubt, that the 
Wedding Day is a Day of Triumph." Hymen, or an accurate Description of the Ceremonies used 
in Marriage in every Nation of the World, Svo. Lond. 17CO. p. 39. 

b Among the allusions of modern Poetry to this practice, may be mentioned " Six Pastorals, 
&c. by George Smith, Landscape Painter at Chichester in Sussex," 4to. Lond. 1770, where, p. 35, 

we read : 

" What do I hear ? The country Bells proclaim 

Evander's joy and my unhappy flame. 
My love continues, tho' there's no redress ! 
Ah, happy Rival ! Ah ! my deep distress ! 
Now, like the gather' d Flow'rs that strew'd her way, 
Forc'd from my Love, untimely I decay." 

So also, the Rev. Henry Rowe, in " The Happy Village," (Poems, Svo. Lond. 1796, vol. i. 
p. 113.) tells us: 

" The Wheaten Ear wag scatter'd near the Porch, 

The green Bloom blossom'd strew'd the way to Church." 
The Bell-ringing, &c. used on these occasions are thus introduced : 
" Lo ! where the Hamlet's ivy'd Gothic Tow'r 
With merry peals salutes the auspicious hour, 


With regard to Nosegays, called by the vulgar in the North of England 
" Posies," Stephens has a remarkable passage in his character of "A plaine 
Country Bridegroom," p. 353. " He shews," says he, " neere affinity betwixt Mar- 
riage and Hanging : and to that purpose he provides a great Nosegay, and shakes 
hands with every one he meets, as it" lie were now preparing for a condemned 
Man's Voyage." Nosegays occur in the Poem of the Collier's Wedding*. 

With sounds that thro' the chearful village bear 

The happy union of some wedded pair ;" 

" The Wedding Cake now thro' the Ring was led. 

The Stocking thrown across the nuptial Bed." 

" Now Sunday come, at stated hour of Prayer, 

Or rain or shine, the happy Couple there. 

Where Nymphs and Swains in various colours dight, 

Gave plea=ing contrast to the modest White" 

c " Now all prepared and ready stand 

With Fans and Posies in their hand." 

In Hasket's "Marriage Present," a Wedding Strmon, to be mentioned again presently, the 
author introduces among Flowers used on this occasion, Prim-roses, Maidens-blushes, and Violets. 
Herrick in his Hesperides plays thus upon the Names of Flowers selected for this purpose, p. 131. 
" Strip her of Spring-time, tencler-whimp'ring-Maids, 
Now Autumne's ccme, when all those flow'rie aids 
Of her delayes must end : dispose 
That Lady- Smock, that Pansie, and that Rose 

Neatly apart ; 
But for Prick-Madam and for Gentle-Heart, 

And soft Maiden's-blush, the Bride 
Makes holy these, all others lay aside : 

Then strip her, or unto her, 

Let him come, who dares undo her." 

In that most rare Tract, entitled " Vox Graculi," 4to. 1623. " Lady Ver, or the Spring," is called 
" The Nose-gay giver to Weddings," p. 19. 


Rosemary, which was antiently thought to strengthen the Memory, was not 
only carried at Funerals, but also worn at Weddings*. 

In a curious Wedding Sermon, by Roger Hacket, D. D. 4to. London, 1607, 
entitled, " A Marriage Present," he thus expatiates on the use of Rosemary at this 
time. " The last of the Flowers is the Rosemary, (Rosmarinus, the Rosemary is 
for married Men) the which by name, nature, and continued use, Man challenged! 
as properly belonging to himselfe. It overtoppeth all the Flowers in the Gar- 
den, boasting Man's rule. It helpeth the Braine, strengtheneth the Memorie, 
and is very medicinable for the head. Another property of the Rosemary is, it 
affects the Hart. Let this Ros Marinus, this Flower of Men, Ensigne of your 
Wisdome, Love, and Loyaltie, be carried not only in your Hands, but in your 
Heads and Harts." 

Both Rosemary and Bayes appear to have been gilded on these occasions' 1 . 

* See Reed's edition of Shakspeare, 8vo. Loud. 1803, vol. ix. p. 335. vol. xviii. p. 295. vol. xx. 
p. 121. See also Dodsley's Old Plays, edit. 1780, vol. ix. p. 370. Herrick, in his Hesperides, p. 
273, has the following lines on 

" The Rosemarie Brunch. 
" Grow for two ends, it matters not at all, 

Be't for my Bridall or my Buriall." 

In the old play called " A Faire Quarrel," 4to. Lond. 1617. Act 5. sc. i. we read: 
" Phis. Your Maister is to be married to-day ? 
" Trim. Else all this ROSEMARY is lost." 

In another old play, " Ram Alley, or Merrie Tricks," 4to. Lond. 1611, Signat. F. 4. is the fol- 
lowing allusion to this old custom : 

" Know, varlet, I will be wed this morning; 
Thou shall not be there, nor once be grac'd 
With a peece of Rosemary." 

* So Hacket, ut supra. " Smell sweet, O ye flowers in your native sweetness : be not gilded 
with the idle arte of man." 

Thus in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 252 : 

" This done, we'l draw lots, who shall buy 

And guild the Baies and Rosemary." 


The Rosemary used at Weddings was previously dipped, it should seem, in 
scented water*. 

Also, p. 208, are "Lines to Rosemary and Bales :" 

" My wooings ended : now my wedding's neere ; 
When Gloves are giving, guilded be you there." 

It appears from a passage in Stephens's Character of a plaine Countrey Bride, p. 357, that the 
Bride gave also, or wore, or carried, on this occasion, " gilt Rases of Ginger." " Guilt Rases of 
Ginger, Rosemary, and Ribbands, be her best magnificence. She will therefore bestow a livery, 
though she receives back wages." 

In a very curious old printed account, 4. /. of "The receiving of the Queen's Majesty into the 
City of London, January 14th, 1558, in the possession of Mr. Nichols, Signat. D. 3. is the fol- 
lowing passage : " How many Nosegayes did her Grace receyve at poorc women's hands? How 
oftentimes stayed she her chariot when she saw any simple body otfer to spcake to her Grace ? 
A braunch of Rosemary given to her Grace, with a supplication, by a poor woman about Fleet 
Bridge, was seene in her chariot till her Grace came to Westminster." 

In Stiype's edit, of Stow's Survey, B. i. p. 259, A. D. 1560. at " a wedding of three sisters toge- 
ther" we read : " fine flowers and Rosemary [were] strewed for them coming home : and so to the 
Father's House, where was a great Dinner prepared for his said three Bride-Daughters, with their 
Bridegrooms and Company." In the year ISC?, July 20. a Wedding at St. Olavcs, " a daughter 
of Mr. Nicolls (who seems to have been the Bridge Master) was married to one Mr. Coke." " At 
the celebration whereof were present, my Lord Mayor, and all the Aldermen, with many Ladies, 
&c. and Mr. Becon, an eminent Divine, preached a Wedding Sermon. Then all the Company went 
home to the Bridge House to Dinner : where was as good cheer as ever was known, with all man- 
ner of Musick and Dancing all the remainder of the day : and at night a goodly Supper ; and 
then followed a Masque till midnight. The next day the Wedding was kept at the Bridge House, 
with great cheer : and after Supper came in Masquers. One was in cloth of gold. The next Masque 
consisted of Friars, and the third of Nuns. And after, they danced by times : and lastly, the Friars 
and the Nuns danced together." 

In " A perfect Journall, &c. of that memorable Parliament begun at Westminster, Nov. 3d, 
1640," vol. i. p. 8. is the following passage : " Nov. 28. That Afternoon Master Prin and Master 
Burton came into London, being met and accompanied with many thousands of Horse and Foot, 
and rode with Rosemary and Bayes in their Hands and Hats; which is generally esteemed the great- 
est affront that ever was given to the Courts of Justice in England." 

c In Dekker's Wonderfull Yeare, 4to. 1G03. Signat. E. 2. b. speaking of a Bride, who died of the 
Plague on her Wedding Day, he says : " Here is a strange alteration, for the Rosemary that was 
washt in sweet water to set out the Bridall, is now wet in Teares to furnish her Buriall." And in, 
Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady, it is asked : 

" Were the Rosemary Branches dipped ?" 
Stephens, in his Character of "A plaine Country Bridegroome," p. 352, says : " He is the finest 


We gather from the old Play of Ben Jonson, entitled, the Tale of a Tub, 
that it was customary for the Maidens, i. e. the Bride Maids, on the Bride- 
groom's first appearance in the Morning, to present him with a Bunch of Rose- 
mary, bound with Ribbons d . 

fellow in the parish, and hee that misinterprets my definition, deserves no Rosemary nor Rose- 
water." At p. 355, he adds: "He must savour of gallantry a little: though he perfume the 
table with Rose-cake : or appropriate Bone-lace and Coventry-blew :" and is passing witty in de- 
scribing the following trait of our Bridegroom's clownish civility : " He hath Heraldry enough to 
place every man by his armes." 

Coles, in his " Adam in Eden," speaking of Rosemary, says : " The Garden Rosemary is called 
Rosemarinum Coronarium, the rather because women have been accustomed to make crowns and 
garlands thereof." 

The following is in Parkinson's Garden of Flowers, fol. Lond. 1629, p. 598 : " The Bay-leave* 
are necessary both for civil uses and for physic, yea, both for the sick and for the sound, both for 
the living and for the dead. It serveth to adorne the House of God as well as Man to crowne or 
encircle, as with a garland, the heads of the living, and to sticke and decke forth the bodies of 
the dead : so that, from the cradle to the grave, we have still use of it, we have still need of it." 
Ibid. p. 426 : " Rosemary is almost of as great use as Bayes as well for clvill as physical purposes : 
for civil uses, as all doe know, at Weddings, Funerals, &c. to bestow among friends." 

Coles, in his Art of Simpling, &c. p. 73, repeats the observation of Rosemary, that it 
" strengthens the senses and memory." 

In a most rare work, entitled, "A strange Metamorphosis of Man, transformed into a Wilder- 
nesse, deciphered in Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1C34 ; in No. 37, " The Bay Tree," it is observed 
that "hee is fit for halls and stately roomes, where if there be a Wedding kept, or such like feast, 
he will be sure to take a place more eminent then the rest. He is a notable smell-feast, and is so 
good a fellow in them, that almost it is no feast without him. He is a great companion with the 
Rosemary, who is as good a gossip in all feasts as he a trencher-man." 

In the "Elder Brother," 4to. Lond. 1637. A. iii. sc. 3. in a scene immediately before a Wedding: 

" Lew. Pray take a peece of Rosemary. Mir. I'll wear it 

But for the Lady's sake, and none of youi's." 

In the first scene of Fletcher's Woman's Pride, " The Parties enter with Rosemary as from u. 
Wedding" So in the Pilgrim : 

" Alph. Well, well, since wedding will come after wooing, 
Give me some Rosemary, and letts be going." 

4 See Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub, where Turf, speaking of the intended Bridegroom's first arrival, 
flays : " Look, an the wenches ha' not found un out, and do present un with a van of Rosemary, 


So late as the Year 1698, the old Country use appears to have been kept up, 
of decking the Bridal Bed with Sprigs of Rosemary : it is not however men- 
tioned as being general c . 


Nuptial Garlands are of the most remote Antiquity. They appear to have 
been equally used by the Jews and the Heathens*. 

Among the Anglo Saxons, after the Benediction in the Church, both the Bride 
and Bridegroom were crowned with Crowns of Flowers, kept in the Church for 
that purpose 1 ". 

In the Eastern Church the Chaplets used on these occasions appear to have 
been blessed . 

and Bays enough to vill a bow-pott, or trim the head of my best vore horse : we shall all ha' 
Bride-laces, or Points, I zee." Strutt's Manners and Customs, vol. iii. p. 155. 

Similar to this, in the Marrow of Complements, 12mo. Lond. 1655, p. 49, a rustic lover tells 
his mistress, that, at their Wedding, "Wee'l have Rosemary and Bayes to vill a bow-pot, and 
with the zame He trim that vorehead of my best vore-horse." 

In the Knight of the Burning Pestle, Act v. sc. 1. we read : " I will have no great store of 
company at the Wedding, a couple of neighbours and their wives, and we will have a capon in 
stewed broth, with marrow, and a good piece of beef stuck with Rosemary." 

c See "LexForcia," a rare Tract on the abuses of great Schools. 4to. Lond. 1G9S. p. 11. 

' Seldeni Uxor Hebraica. Opera, torn. iii. p. 655. " Coronarum nuptialium mentio occurrit apud 
veteres paganos, quse item in Ornamentis Sponsorum, Ebraicis, ut supra ostendimus." 

" Among the Romans, when the Marriage Day was come, the Bride was bound to have a Chap- 
let of Flowers or Hearbes upon her Head, and to weare a Girdle of Sheeps Wool about her Middle, 
fastned with a True-Loves-Knot, the which her Husband must loose. Here hence rose the Pro- 
verb : He hath undone her Virgin's Girdle: that is, of a Mayde he hath made her a Woman.'' 
Vaughan's Golden Grove, Svo. Lond. 1G08. Signat. O. 2. 

The author of the Convivial Antiquities, in his Description of the Rites at Marriages in his 
country and time, has not omitted Garlands. " Antequam eatur ad Templum Jentaculum Spons<e 
et Invitatis apponitur, Serta atque Corolla, distribuuntur." Antiquitates Convivial, fol. 68. 

b Strutt's Manners and Customs, vol. i. p. 76. 

c Seldeni Uxor Hebraica. Opera, torn. iii. p. 661. "Coronas tenent a tergo paranymphi, quse 
>Capitibus Sponsorum iterum a Sacerdote non sine benedictione solenni aptantur." The form is 


The Nuptial Garlands were sometimes made of Myrtle d . 
In England, in the time of Henry the Eighth, the Bride wore a garland of 
Corn Ears, sometimes one of Flowers e . 

given, p. 667. " Benedic, Domine, Annulum istum et Coronam istam, ut sicut Annulus circumdat 
digitum hominis et Corona Caput, ita Gratia Spiritus Sancti circumdet Sponsum et Sponsara, ut 
videant Filios et Filias usque ad tertium aut quartam Generationem, &c." 

d Selden ut supra. 

e Polydore Vergil. " Spicea autem Corona (interdum jloreq) Sponsa redimita caput, prcEsertim 
ruri deducitur, vel manu gerit ipsam Coronam." Compare Langley's Transl. fol. 9 b. 

In dressing out Grisild tor her Marriage in the Clerk of Oxenford's Tale in Chaucer, theChaplet 
is not forgotten : " A Coroune on hire hed they han ydressed." 

Concerning the Crowns or Garlands used by Brides, see Leland. Collect, vol.v. p. 332. 

In the Dialogue of Dives and Pauper, fol. 1493. " The sixte Precepte, chap. 2." is the following 
curious passage : " Thre Ornamentys longe pryncypaly to a Wyfe. A Rynge onhir fynger, aBroch 
on hir brest, and a Garland on hit- hedc. The Ringe betokenethe true Love, as I have seyd, the 
Broch bfHokennethe Clennesse in Herte and Chastitye that she oweth to have, the GARLANDE by- 
tokencth Gladnesse and the Dignitt/e of the Sacrament of IVedlok ." 

In Mr. Nichols's Churchwardens' Accounts, 4to. 179?', among those of St. Margaret's West- 
minster, under the year 1540. is the following Item : " Paid to Alice Lewis, a Goldsmiths Wife of 
London, for a Serclett to marry Maydens in, the 26th Day of September sg.3. 10s." 

In the Old Play called " Amends for Ladies, with the Meny Prankes of Moll Cut-purse, by 
Nath. Field," 4to. Loncl. 1639. Scene the last. When the Marriages are agreed upon there is a 
Stage direction to set Garlands upon the heads of the Maid and Widow that are to be married. 

In the " Glossarium Suio Gothicum, auctore I. Hire. fol. Upsal. 1769. p. 1164. v. KRONA. we 
read : " Sponsarum ornatus erat Corona gestamen, qui mos hodieque pleno usu apud Ruri- 
colas viget." 

Dallaway, in his Constantinople, &c. 4to. Lond. 1797- p. 375. tells us " Marriage is by them (of 
the Greek Church) called the Matrimonial Coronation, from the Crowns or Garlands with which the 
Parties are decorated, and which they solemnly dissolve on the eighth Day following." 

" Donner le Chapelet. 

" Se prend pour marier, a cause que Ton met ordinairement sur la Teste des nouvelles marines, 
je dis des personnes de peu de condition, un chapelet de romarin. Et notre vieille coutume porte, 
qu'un pere peut marier sa fille d'un chapeau des Roses, c'est a dire, ne luy baillcr rien que son 
Chapelet. La Couronne est appellee Chapelet, diminutif de Chapeau, quod Capiti imponeretur." 
Les Origines de quelques Coutumes anciennes, &c. 12mo. Caen. 1672. p. 53. 
Ibid. p. 70. " Chapeau ou Chapel de Roses. 

" C'est un petit mariage, car quaiul on demande ce qu'un pere donne a une fille, & qu'on veut 
repondre qu'il donne peu, on dit qu'il lui donne un Chapeau de Roses qu'un Chapel ou Chapelet 


The giving of Gloves at Marriages is a Custom of remote Antiquity. See 
before under the head of Bridegroom Men. 

The following is an Extract from a Letter to Mr. Winwood from Sir Dudley 
Carleton, dated London, January 1604, concerning the manner of celebrating 
the Marriage between Sir Philip Herbert and the Lady Susan : 

" No ceremony was omitted of Bride-Cakes, Points, Garters, and Gloves*." 

In Ben Jonson's Play of the Silent Woman, Lady Haughty observes to Mo- 
rose : "We see no Ensigns of a Wedding here, no Character of a Bridale; where 
be our Skarves and our Gloves b ?" 

The Custom of giving away Gloves at Weddings occurs in the old Play of 

de Roses soit convenable aux nouvelles mariees, pcrsonne n'cn doute : les fleurs en general, et lei 
Roses particulierement, extant consacrees a Venus, aux Graces, et 1'amour." 

I know not Gosson's authority for the following passage : " In som Countries the Bride is 
crowned by the Matrons with a GARLAND OF PRICKLES, and so delivered unto her Husband that hee 
might know he hath tied himself to a thorny plesure." Schoole of Abuse. 8vo. Lond. 1587. Signat. 
R. Or rather the Ephemerides of Phialo, &c. by Steph. Gosson, Svo. Lond. 1579, p. 73. 

a Winwood's Memorials, vol. ii. p. 43. Sfealso Gent. Mag. for Feb. 1787. vol. Ivii. 143. 

b The Bride's Gloves are noticed in Stephens's Character of "A Plaine Country Bride," p. 35?. 
" She hath no rarity worth observance, if her Gloves be not miraculous and singular : those be 
the trophy of some forlorne Sutor, who contents himself with a large Offering, or this glorious 
sentence, that she should have bin his bedfellow." 

It appears from Selden's Uxor Hebraica. Opera, torn. iii. p. 673, that the Belgtc custom at Mar- 
riages was for the Priest to ask of the Bridegroom the Ring, and, if they could be had, a pair of 
red Gloves, with three pieces of silver money in them (arrhse loco) then putting the Gloves into 
the Bridegroom's right hand, and joining it with that of the Bride, the Gloves were left, on loosing 
their right hands, in that of the Bride. 

In Professor Ihre's Glossarium Suio Gothicum, v. HANDSKE, we read : " De More Veterum mit- 
tendi Chirothecam in rei Jidem cum Nuntio, quern quopiani ablegabant, alibi agetur, vocabatur id 
genus Symbolum Jertekn. Dufresne says-" Chirothecam in signum consensus dare." " Etiam 
Rex in signum sui Consensus, suam ad hoc naittere debet Chirothecam." 


" The Miseries of inforced Marriage." See Reed's Old Plays, vol. v. p. 8 c . 

White Gloves still continue to be presented to the Guests on this occasion. 

The late Rev. Dr. Lort had inserted the following Note in an interleaved 

Copy of rny Observations on Popular Antiquities, 8vo. 1777 : "At Wrexhamin 

c So also in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 252 : 

" What Posies for our Wedding Rings, 
What Gloves we'll give, and Ribanings." 

In Arnold's Chronicle, (about the date of 1521,) chiefly concerning London, Signat. S. iiii. among 
"The artycles upon whiche is to inqujre in the Visitacyons of Ordynaryes of Chyrches," we read : 
,' Item, whether the Curat refuse to do the solemnysacyon of lawfull matrymonye before he have 
gyfte of money, hoses, or Gloves." 

There is some pleasantly in the vulgar, rather amorous than superstitious, notion, that if a 
woman surprizes a man sleeping, and can steal a kiss without waking him, she has a right to de- 
mand a pair of Gloves. Thus Gay in his Sixth Pastoral : 

" Cic'ly, brisk maid, steps forth before the rout, 
And kiss'd with smacking lip the snoring lout : 
For Custom says, whoe'er this venture proves, 
For such a Kiss demands a pair of Gloves." 

In the North of England a custom still prevails at Maiden Assizes, i, c, when no prisoner is 
capitally convicted, to present the Judges, &c. with white Gloves. It should seem, by the follow- 
ing passage in Clavell's Recantation of an ill-led life, 4to. Lond. 1634, that antiently this present 
was made by such prisoners as received pardon after condemnation. It occurs in his Dedication 
" to the impartiall Judges of his Majestie's Bench, my Lord Chiefe Justice and his other tliree 
honourable Assistants." 

" Those pardon'd men, who taste their Prince's loves 

(As married to new life) do give you Gloves," &c. 

Clavell was a highwayman, who had just received the King's pardon. He dates from the 
King's Bench Prison, October 1627. Fuller, in his " Mixt Contemplations on these Times," 8vo. 
Lond. 1660, says, p. 62 : " It passeth for a general! Report of what was customary in former times, 
that the Sheriff of the County used to present the Judge with a pair of white Gloves, at those 
which we call Mayden-Assizet, viz. when no malefactor is put to death therein." 

Among the Lots in " A Lottery presented before the late Queene's Majesty at the Lord Chance- 
lor's House, 1601," in Davison's Poetical Rhapsody, Svo. Lond. 1611, p. 44, is, No. 8, 

"A Paire of Gloves. 

"Fortune these Gloves to you IN CHALLENGE sends, 
For that you love not fooles that are her friends." 
Can the custom of dropping or sending tht Glove, as the signal of a challenge, have been de- 


Flintshire, on occasion of the Marriage of the Surgeon and Apothecary of the 
place, August 1785, I saw at the Doors of his own and neighbours' Houses, 
throughout the Street where he lived, large Boughs and Posts of Trees, that 
had been cut down and fixed there, filled with white paper, cut in the shape of 
Women's Gloves, and of white Ribbons." 


Garters at Weddings have been already noticed under the head of Gloves. 
There was formerly a custom in the North of England a , which will be thought 
to have bordered very closely upon Indecency, and strongly marks the gross- 
ness of Manners that prevailed among our Ancestors b : it was for the young 

rived from the circumstance of its being the cover of the hand, and therefore put for the hand 
itself? The giving of the hand is well known to intimate that the person who does so will not 
deceive, but stand to his agreement. To " shake hands upon it" would not, it should seem, be 
very delicate in an agreement to fight, and therefore Gloves may, possibly, have been deputed as 
substitutes. We may, perhaps, trace the same idea in Wedding Gloves. 

From the information of a person at Newcastle upon Tyne, who had often seen it done. A 
Clergyman in Yorkshire told me, that to prevent this very indecent Assault, it is usual for the 
Bride to give Garters out of her Bosom. I have sometimes thought this a Fragment of the 
antient Ceremony of loosening the Virgin Zone, or Girdle, a Custom that needs no explanation. 
Compare also the " British Apollo," fol. Lond. 1710. vol. iii. No. 91. 

b From passages in different Work.?, it should seem that the striving for Garters was originally 
after the Bride had been put to bed. See " Folly in Print ; or a Book of Rhymes," p. 121 ; 
Stephens's Character of " a plaine Countrey Bride," p. 359 : the old Song of Arthur of Bradley: 
and a " Sing-Song on Clarinda's Wedding," in R. Fletcher's Poems, 8vo. Lond. 1656, p. 230. 
bee also llitson's Antient Songs, 8vo. Lond. 1792, p. 297- 

I find the following in " ths Epithalamie oa Sir Clipesby Crew and his Lady," in Herrick's 
Hesperides, p. 128. , 

" jQuickly, quickly then prepare 
And let the young Men and the Bride-Maids share 

Your Garters ; and their joynts 
Encircle with the Bridegroom's Points." 

In Christopher Brooke's Epithalamium in England's Helicon, Signat. R. 3. we read : 

" Youths ; take his Poynts ; your wonted right : 
And Maydens ; take your due, her Garters." 


men present at a Wedding to strive immediately after the Ceremony, who 
could first pluck off the Bride's Garters from her legs. This was done before 
the very Altar. The Bride was generally gartered with Ribbons for the occa- 
sion. Whoever were so fortunate as to be Victors in this singular species of 
Contest, during which the Bride was often obliged to scream out, and was very 
frequently thrown down, bore them about the Church in triumph. 

These Garters, it should seem, were antiently worn as Trophies in the Hats c . 

A Note to a curious and rare Tract, 4to. 168G, entitled " A Joco-Serious Discourse in two Dia- 
logues, between a Northumberland Gentleman and his Tenant, a Scotchman, both old Cavajiers," 
&c. p. 24, tells us : " The Piper at a Wedding has always a Piece of the Bride's Garter tyed about 
his Pipes." 

e " Which all the Saints, and some, since Martyrs, 
Wore in their Hats like Wedding-Garters." 

Hudibras, P. I. c. ii. 1. 524. 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 352. says : " When Bed-time is 
come, the Bride-Men pull off the Bride's Garters, which she had before unty'd, that they might 
hang down and so prevent a curious Hand from coming too near her Knee. This done, and the 
Garters being fasten' d to the Hats of the Gallants, the Bride Maids carry the Bride into the Bride- 
Chamber, where they undress her and lay her in Bed." 

It is the custom in Normandy for the Bride to bestow her Garter on some young Man as a 
favour, or sometimes it is taken from her. 

In Aylet's Divine and Moral Speculations, 8vo. Lond. 1654, is a Copy of Verses " on sight of a 
most honorable Lady's Wedding Garter," I am of opinion that the origin of the ORDER OF THE 
GARTER is to be traced to this nuptial Custom, antiently common to both Court and Country. 

Among the Lots in " A Lottery presented before the late Queenes Majesty at the Lord Chan- 
celor's House, 1601," (Davison's Poetical Rapsody, Svo. Lond. 1611, p. 45.) there occurs, 
No. xiv. 

" A Payre of Garters. 

" Though you have Fortune's Garters, you must, be 
More staid and constant in your steps than she." 

Sir Abraham Ninny, in the old Play of "A Woman's a Weather-Cocke," 1612. acti. sc. 1, declares . 

" Well, since I am disdain'd; off Garters blew ; 
Which signifies Sir Abram's love was true. 
Off Cypresse blacke, for thou befits not me ; 
Thou art not Cypresse, of the Cypresse Tree, 
Befitting Lovers : out green Shoe-strings, out, 
Wither in pocket, since my Luce doth pout." 



That SKARVES, now confined to Funerals, were antiently given at Marriages, 
has been already noticed in a former Section, from Ben Jonson's " Silent 
Woman*." In the same Author's Tale of a Tub, Turf is introduced as saying 
on this occasion : " We shall all ha' BRIDE-LACES or Points b I zee." 

Herrick, in his Hesperides, p. 128. in the " Epithalamie on Sir Clipseby 
Crew and his Lady," thus cautions the Bridegroom's Men against offending the 
delicacy of the new-married Lady : 

* In a curious Manuscript in my possession, entitled " A Mont lies Jorney into Fraunce : 
Observations on it." 4to. without date, but bearing internal evidence of having been written in the 
time of Charles the First, (soon after his Marriage with Henrietta Maria,) and that the Writer was a 
Regent M. A. of the University of Oxford : p. 82. is the following passage: " A Scholler of the 
University never disfurnished so many of his Freindes to provide for his Jorney, as they (the 
French) doe Neighbours, to adorne their Weddings. At my beinge at Pontoise, I sawe Mistres 
Bryde returne from the Church. The day before shee had beene somewhat of the condicion of a 
Kitchen Wench, but now so tricked up with SCARFES, Rings, and Crosse- Garters, that you never 
sawe a Whitsun-Lady better rigged. I should much have applauded the Fellowes fortune, if he 
could have maryed the Cloathes ; but (God be mercifull to hym) he is chayned to the Wench ; 
much joy may they have together, most peerlesse Couple, 

Hymen Hymentei, Hymen, Hymen O Hymenaee ! 

The Match was now knytt up amongst them. I would have a French Man marie none but a 
French Woman." 

b Among the Lots presented to Queen Elizabeth in 1601, already quoted, from Davison's Rap- 
sody, p. 44, the three following occur, in a List of Prizes for Ladies : 


" You are in every point a Lover true, 

And therefore Fortune gives the Points to you." 

" 16. A SCARFE. 

" Take you this Skarfe, bind Cupid hande and foote, 
So Love must aske you leave before he shoote." 

" 10. A LACE. 

" Give her the Lace that loves to be straight lac'd, 
So Fortune's little Gift is aptly plac'd." 


" We charge ye that no strife 

(Farther than gentleness tends) get place 
Among ye, striving for her LACE :" 

And it was observed before, in the account of the Marriage Ceremony of John 
Newchombe, the wealthy clothier of Newbury, cited by Strutt, vol. iii. p. 154. 
that his Bride was led to Church between two sweet Boys, " with Bride-Laces 
and Rosemary tied about their silken Sleeves c ." 


Strange as it may appear, it is however certain that Knives were formerly 
part of the accoutrements of a Bride*. This perhaps will not be difficult to 
account for if we consider that it antiently formed part of the dress for Women 

In Dekker's Honest Whore, 4to. Lond. 1630. Signal. K. 3 b. we read : " Looke yee, doe you 
gee the BRIDE-LACES that I give at my Wedding will serve to tye Rosemary to both your Coffins, 
when you come from hanging." 

A Bride says to her jealous Husband, in Dekker's " Match me in London," 4to. 1631. 
" See at my Girdle hang my Wedding Knives ! 
With those dispatch me." 

From a passage ia the old Play of King Edward the third, 1599. there appear to have been two 
of them. See Reed's Shaksp. 1803. vol. xx. p. 206. 

So among the Lots, in a Lottery presented before the Queen, in Davison's Poetical Rapsody, 
No. 11. is 

" A Pair of Knives. 

" Fortune doth give these paire of Knives to you, 
To cut the thred of Love if 't be not true." 

In the old Play of " A Woman's a Wether-Cocke," act v. sc. 1, Bellafront says : 
" Oh, were this Wedlocke knot to tie againe, 
Not all the state and glorie it containes, 
Joyn'd with my Father's fury, should enforce 
My rash consent ; but, Scudmore, thou shalt see 
This false heart (in my death) most true to thee." 

(Shews a Knife hanging by her side.) 


to wear a Knife or Knives sheathed and suspended from their Girdles b : a finer 
and more ornamented pair of which would very naturally be either purchased or 
presented on the occasion of a Marriage . In that most rare Play, "the 
Witch of Edmonton," 4to. Lond. 1658. p. 21. Somerton says : " But see, the 

6 See Mr. Douce's Essay on this subject in theArchaeologia of the Soc.of Antiq. vol. xii. In a Book 
of some curiosity, entitled <<The French Garden : for English Ladyes and Gentlewomen to walke 
in," &c. 8vo. Lond. 1621, Signat. E. 6. b. in a Dialogue describing a Lady e's Dress, the Mistress 
thus addresses her Waiting-woman: " Give me my Girdle, and see that all the Furniture be at it: 
looke if my Cizers, the Pincers, the Fen-knife, the Knife to close Letters, with the Bodkin, the Ear- 
picker, and the Seale be in the Case : where is my Purse to weare upon my Gowne, &c." 

In " Well met, Gossip : or 'Tis merry when Gossips meet," 4to. Lond. 1675, Signat. A. 3 b. 
the Widow says .- 

" For this you know, that all the wooing Season, 
Suiters with Gifts continual seek to gain 
Their Mistriss Love," &c. 
The Wife answers : 

" That's very true 

In conscience I had twenty Pair of Gloves, 
When 1 was Maid, given to that effect ; 
Garters, Knives, Purses, Girdles, store of Rings, 
And miany a thousand dainty, pretty things." 

e Thus as to another part of the Dress, in the old Play of the " Witch of Edmonton," 4to. Lond. 
1658, p. 13, Old Carter tells his Daughter and her Sweetheart : " Your Marriage-money shall be 
rece,iv'd before your Wedding Shooes can be pulled on. Blessing on you both." 

So in Dekker's " Match me in London :" " I thinke your Wedding Shoes have not beene oft 
unty'd." Down answers " Some three times." 

The following remarkable passage occurs in " The Praise of Musicke," (ascribed to Dr. Case) 8vo. 
Oxford, 1586. Signat. F. 3. "I come to Manages, wherein as our Ancestors, (I do willingly harp upon 
this string, that our yongerWits may know they stand under correction of elder Judgements,) did 
fondly and with a kind of doting maintaine many Rites and Ceremonies, some whereof were either 
Shadowes or Abodements of a pleasant Life to come, as the eating of a Quince Peare, to be a pre- 
parative of sweete and delightful! dayes between the roaried persons." 

The subsequent, no less curious, I find in " a Treatise wherein Dicing, Dauncing, VainePlayes, 
or Enterluds, with other idle Pastimes, &c. commonly used on the Sabboth Day, are reproved by 
the authoritie of the Word of God, & aitncient writers, by John Northbrooke, Minister and Preacher 
of the Word of God," 4to. Lond. 1579, p. 35. "In olde tune (we reade) that there was usually 
caried before the Mayde when she shoulde be maried and came to dwell in hir Husbandes house, 
a Dista/e, charged with Flaxe, and a Spyndle hanging at it, to the intente shee might bee mynde- 
full to lyve by hir labour." 


Bridegroom and Bride comes: the new pair of Sheffield Knives fated both to 
one Sheath d . 


Can this custom have had its rise in the uses of Gentilism? Vallancey 
informs us that " the autient Etruscans always were married in the Streets, 
before the Door of the House, which was thrown open at the conclusion of the 
Ceremony a . 

All the antient Missals mention at the beginning of the nuptial Ceremony 
the placing of the Man and Woman before the Door of the Church b , and direct, 
towards the conclusion, that here they shall enter the Church as far as the Step 
of the Altar. 

The vulgar reason assigned for the first part of this practice, i. e. " that it 
would have been indecent to give permission within the Church for a Man and 
a Woman to sleep together," is too ridiculous to merit any serious answer. 

d Chaucer's Miller of Trumpington is represented as wearing a Sheffield knife : 

" A Shcfeld thwitel bare he in his Hose :" 

And it is observable that all the portraits of Chaucer give him a Knife hanging at his breast. I 
have an old Print of a female Foreigner entitled " Forma Pallii Mulieris Clevensis euntis ad forum," 
in which are delineated, as hanging from her Girdle, her Purse, her Keys, and two sheathed 

Among the Women's Trinkets about A. D. 1560. in the four P's of John Heywood, occur : 
" Silkers Swathbonds, Ribands, and Sleeve-laces, 
Girdles, Knives, Purses, and Pin-Cases." 

See Strutt, vol. iii. p. 9O. 

" An olde Marchant had hanging at his Girdle, a Pouch, a Spectacle-case, a Punniard, a Pen 
and Inckhorne, and a Hand-kertcher, with many other Trinkets besides : which a merry Com- 
panion seeing, said, it was like a Habberdasher's shop of small wares." Wits, Fits, and Fancies, 
4to. Lond. 1614, p. 177. 

* Collectanea de Rebus Hibernicis, No. xiii. p. 67. 

b In the Missale ad Usum Ecclesiae Sarisburiensis, 1555. " Statuantur Vir et Mulier ante ostium 
Ecclesise, sive in faciem Ecclesise, coram Deo et Sacerdote et Populo." See also the " Formula" 
in the Appendix to Hearne's Hist, and Antiq. of Glastonb. p. 309. 


Selclen, in his Uxor Hcbraica, (Opera, torn. iii. p. 680.) asserts that no where 
else, but before the face of, and at the Door of the Church could the Marriage- 
Dower have been lawfully assigned c . " Neque alibi quam in facie Ecclesiaj et 
ad ostium Ecclesia?, atque ante desponsationem in initio Contractus (ut Juris 
Consultus nostri veteres aiunt) sic fundi dos legitime assignari potuit d ." 

We read in Bridges's Hist, of Northamptonshire, vol. i. p. 135, that " Robert Fitz Roger, in 
the Gth Ed. 1. entered into an engagement with Robert de Tybetot, to marry, within a limited 
time, John his son and heir, to Hawisia, the daughter of the said Robert de Tybetot, to endow 
her at the Church-door on her Wedding-day with Lands amounting to the value of one hundred 
pounds per annum." 

Chaucer, who nourished during the reign of Edward the third, alludes to this Custom in hit 
Wife of Bath thus ; 

" She was a worthy woman alLlier live, 
Husbands at the Church dore had she five." 

In the curious Collection of Prints, illustrating antient Customs, in the Library of Francis 
Douce, Esq. there is one that represents a Marriage solemnizing at the Church Door. 

In a MS. entitled " Historical Passages concerning the Clergy in the Papal Times," cited in the 
History of Shrewsbury, 4to. 1779. p. 92. Notes, it is observed that " the Pride of the Clergy and 
the Bigotry of the Laity were such, that both rich and poor were married at the Church Doors." 
* See also Ibid. p. 684. 

In a MS Missal of the date of Richard the second's reign, formerly the property of University 
College in Oxford, in the Marriage Ceremony, the Man says: "Ich M. take the N. to my 
weddid Wyf, to haven and to holden, for fayrere for fouler, for bettur for wors, for richer for 
porer, in seknesse and in helthe, for thys tyme forward, til dethe us departe, zif holichirche will 
it orden, and zerto iche plizt the my treuthe:" and on giving the Ring: " With this Ring I the 
wedde and zis Gold and Setver Ich the zeve* and with my Bodi I the worschepe, and with all my 
worldly Catelle I the honoure." The Woman says : " Iche N. take the M. to my weddid husbond, 
to haven and to holden, for fayrer for fouler, for better for wors, for richer for porer, in seknesse 
and in helthe, to be bonlich and buxum in Bed and at Burdo, tyl deth us departe, fro thys tyme 
forward, and if holichirche it wol orden, & zerto Iche plizt the my truthe." 

The variations of these Missals on this head are observable. The Hereford Missal makes the 
Man say : "I N. underfynge the N. for my wedde wyf, for betere for worse, for richer for porer, 
yn sekenes & in helthe, tyl deth us departe as holy Church hath ordeyned, and therto Y plygth 
the my trowthe." The Woman says : "IN. underfynge the N. &c. to be boxum to the tyl dth 

us departe, &c." 


So also the Miss.ile ad usuro Sarum. 4to. 1554. Col. 43. 


By the Parliamentary Reformation of Marriage and other Rites under King 
Edward the sixth, the Man and Woman were first permitted to come into the 
body or middle of the Church, standing no longer as formerly at the Door : 
yet, by the following from Herrick's Hesperides, p. 143. one would be templed 
to think that this Custom had survived the Reformation. 

" The Entertainment : or, PORCH VERSE at the Marriage of 
Mr. Henry Northly and the most witty Mrs. Lettice Yard. 
" Welcome! but yet no entrance till we blesse 
First you, then you, and both for white successe : 
Profane no Porch, young Man and Maid, for fear 
Ye wrong the Threshold-God that keeps peace here ;. 
Please him and then all good Luck will betide 
You the brisk Bridegroom, you the dainty Bride." 


This custom is enjoined in the Hereford Missal*. By the Sarurn Missal it is 
directed that the Sops immersed in this Wine, as well as the liquor itself, and 
the cup that contained it, should be blessed by the Priest b . 

The beverage used on this occasion was to be drunk by the Bride and Bride- 
groom and the rest of the company. 

In Mr. Lysons's Environs of London, vol. iii. p. 624, in his account of 

In the Sarum Manual there is this remarkable variation in the Woman's speech : " to be bonere 
and buxumjn Beddc and at Borde," &c. Bonaire and buxum are explained in the margin by 
" meek and obedient." 

In the York Manual the Woman engages to be " buxom" to her husband, and the Man takes 
her " for fairer for fouler, for better for warse, &c." 

a "PostMissam, Panis, etVinum, vel aliud bonum potabile inVasculo proferatur, et gustent in 
nomine Domini, Sacerdote primo sic dicente ' Dominus Tobiscum'." 

b " Benedicatur Panis et Vinum vel aliud quid potabile in Vasculo, et gustent in nomine Do- 
mini, Sacerdote dicente ' Dominus vobiscuin'." The form of Benediction ran thus : " Benedic Do- 
mine panem istum et hunc potum et hoc vasculum, sieut benedixisti quinque panes in Deserto et 
sex hydrias in Chanaan Galileae, ut sint sani et sobrii atque immaculati omnes gustantes ex iis,"&c. 


Wilsdon Parish, in Middlesex, he tells us of an " Inventory of the Goods and 
Ornaments belonging to Wilsdon Church about A.D. 1547," in which occur 
" two Masers that were appointed to remayne In the church for to drynk yn 
at Brideales ." 

The pieces of Cake, or Wafers, that appear to have been immersed in the 
Wine on this occasion, were properly called Sops, and doubtless gave name to 
the Flower termed " Sops in Wine." 

' In Coates's History of Reading, p. 225, under the year 1561, in the Churchwardens' Accounts 
of St. I^awrence's Parish, is the following entry : " Dry de-Past. It. receyved of John Radleye, 
vi*. viijd." A note says : " Probably the Wafers, which, together with sweet Wine, were given 
after the solemnization of the Marriage." See the Account of the Ceremony of the Marriage be- 
tween Frederick Count Palatine of the Rhine and the Princess Elizabeth eldest daughter of King 
James the first, on St. Valentine's Day, 1613. Leland's Collectanea, vol. vi. p. 335. So, at 
the Marriage of Queen Mary and Philip of Spain, " Wyne and Sopes were hallowed." Leland, 
vol. iv. p. 400. 

In " The Workes of John Heiwood, newlie imprinted, 4to. Lond. 1576, Signat. b. iv. the fol- 
lowing passage occurs : 

" Tlie Drlnke of my Brydeciip I should have forborne, 
Till temperaunce had tempred the taste beforne. 
I see now, and shall see while I am alive 
Who wedth or he be wise shall die or he thrive." 

In the Compleat Vintner, &c. a Poem, Svo. Lond. 1720, p. 17, it is asked : 

"What Priest can join two Lovers hands, 
But Wine must seal the Marriage-bands ? 

" As if celestial Wine was thought 

Essential to the sacred Knot, 

And that each Bridegroom and his Bride 

Believ'd they were not firmly ty'd, 

Till Bacchus, with his bleeding tun, 

Had finish'd what the Priest begun." 

This Custom too has its traces in Gentilism. It is of high anriqnity, says Malone, for it sub- 
sisted among our Gothic ancestors : " Ingressns domum convivalem Sponsus cum pronubo sno, 
sumpto poculo, quod maritale vocant, ac paucis a Pronubo de mutato vftae genere prefetis, in 
sjgnum constant!*, virtutis, defensionis et tutelse, propinat Sponsre et simul Morgennaticam 
(Dotalitium ob virginitatem) promittit, quod ipsa grato animo recolens, pari ratione et modo, 
paulo post mutato in uxorium habitum operculo Capitis, ingressa, poculum ut nostrates vocant, 


The allusions to this Custom in our old Plays are very numerous d . 

In Ben Jonson's Magnetic Lady, the Wine drank on this occasion is called 
a Knitting Cup." 

The Jews have a Custom at this Day, when a Couple are married, to break 
the Glass, in which the Bride and Bridegroom have drank, to admonish them of 
Mortality 6 . 

This Custom of Nuptial Drinking appears to have prevailed in the Greek 
Church f . 

uxorium leviter delibans, amorem, fidem, diligentiam, et subjectionem proinittit." Stiernhook 
de Jure Sueorum et Gothoram vetusto, 4to. 1672, p. 163. 

A As in Shakspeare's Taming of the Shrew, where Greinio calls for Wine, gives a health, 
and having quaffed off the Muscadel, throws the Sops in the Sexton's face. 

In the beginning of Armin's History of the Two Maids of Moreclacke, 1609, the Serving-man, 
who is perfuming the door, says : " The Muscadine stays for the Bride at Church." 
Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady, Act. i. sc. 1 : 

" If my Wedding Smock were on, 

Were the Gloves bought and given, the Licence, come. 
Were the Rosemary Branches dipt, and all 
The Hippocras and Cakes eat and drunk off." 

In the Articles ordained by King Henry the seventh for the Regulation of his Household, 
" Article for the Marriage of a Princess," we rear! : " Then Pottes of Ypocrice to bee ready, and 
to be put into the cupps with Soppe, and to be borne to the Estates ; and to take a soppe and a 
drinke," &c. 

In Dekker's Satiro-Mastix, 1602, we read: "And when we are at Church bring the Wine 
and Cakes." 

At the magnificent Marriage of Queen Mary and Philip in Winchester Cathedral, 1554, this 
was practised : " The trumpetts sounded, and they both returned, hand in hand, to their traverses 
in the Quire, and there remayned until Mase was done : at which tyrne Wyne and Sopes were hal- 
lowed and delivered to them booth." Leland. Collectan. edit. 1770. vol. iv. Append, p. 400. 

Dr. Farmer has adduced a line in an old canzonet on a Wedding, set to muslck by Morley, 
1606 : " Sops in Wine, Spice Cakes are a dealing." See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. vol. ix. pp. 1 14. 115. 

e See Wedding Sermons, 12mo. Lond. 1732, vol. i. p. 29. A Wedding Sermon was antiently 
preached at almost every Marriage of persons of any consequence. 

f " Certe et in Graecorum rjtibus, Compotatio est in Ecclesia nuptialis, qua? Confarreationis 
vicetn videtur prastare." Seldeni Uxor Hebraica. Opera, torn. iii. p. 668. 

[That it still exists in Russia may be seen in the " Dissertations sur les Antiquites de Russie," 
par Matthieu Guthrie. 8vo. St. Petersb. 1795. p. 128.] 


This Nuptial Kiss in the Church is enjoined botli by the York Missal*, and 
the Sarum Manual*. It is expressly mentioned in the following line from the 
old Play of the Insatiate Countess, by Marston : 

In a curious Account of Irish Marriage Customs about 1082, in Sir Henry Piers' Description of 
Westmeath, in Vallancey's Collection, vol. i. p. 122, it is stated, that "in their Marriages, espe- 
cially in those countries where cattle abound, the parents and friends on each side meet on the 
side of a hill, or, if the weather be cold, in some place of shelter about mid-way between both 
dwellings. If agreement ensue, they drink the Agreement-Bottle, as they call it, which is a bottle 
of good Usquebaugh," (i. c. Whiskey, the Irish aqua vita, and not what is now understood by 
Usquebaugh,) " and this goes merrily round. For payment of the portion, which generally is a 
determinate number of cows, little care is taken. Only the father, or next of kin to the Bride, 
sends to his neighbours and friends, sub mutuee ricissltudinis obtenlu, and every one gives his 
cow or heifer, which is all one in the case, and thus the portion is quickly paid ; nevertheless, 
caution is taken from the Bridegroom, on the day of deliver} 7 , for restitution of the cattle, in case 
the Bride die childless within a certain day limited by agreement, and in this case every man's 
own beast is restored. Thus care is taken that no man shall grow rich by often Marriages. On 
the day of bringing home, the Bridegroom and his friends ride out, and meet tlu Bride and her 
friends at the place of treaty. Being come near each other, the custom was of old to cast short 
darts at the company that attended the Bride, but at such a distance that seldom any hurt ensued : 
yet it is not out of the memory of man that the Lord Hoath on such an occasion lost an eye : this 
custom of casting darts is now obsolete." 

The following is from the Gent. Mag. for March 1767, vol. xxxvii. p. 140 : "The antient cus- 
tom of seizing wives by force, and carrying them off, is still practised in Ireland. A remarkable 
instance of which happened lately in the county of Kilkenny, where a farmer's son, being refused 
a neighbour's daughter of only twelve years of age, took an opportunity of running away with 
her j but being pursued and recovered by the girl's parents, she was brought back and married 
by her father to a lad of fourteen. But her former lover, determining to maintain his priority, 
procured a party of armed men, and besieged the house of his rival; and in the contest the 
father-in-law was shot dead, and several of the besiegers were mortally wounded, and forced to 
retire without their prize." 

a Thus the York Missal : " Accipiat Sponsus pacem" (the Pax) " a Sacerdote, et ferat Sponsae, 
oscuLms earn, et neminem alium, nee ipse nee ipsa." 

b 4to. Par. 1553. Kubrick, fol. 69. " Surgant ambo, Sponsus et Sponsa, et accipiat Sponsus pacem 
a Sacerdote, et ferat Sponsa;, osculans cam, et neminem alium, nee ipse nee ipsa. 


"The Kisse them gav'st me in the Church, here take." 

It is still customary among persons of middling rank as well as the Vulgar, in 
most parts of England, for the young Men present at the Marriage Ceremony 
to salute the Bride, one by one, the moment it is concluded. This, after officiat- 
ing in the Ceremony myself, I have seen frequently done d . 

c See Reed's edit, of Shakspeare, vol. xi. p. 142, Notes. By a Note, Ibid. vol. xv. p. 57, we 
learn that, in dancing, " a Kiss was antiently the establish' d fee of a lady's partner." So, in a 
Dialogue between Custom and Veritie concerning the Use and Abuse of Dauncing and Minstrel- 
sie, b. l.,no date. (Imprinted at the long Shop adjoining unto Saint Mildreds Church in the 
Pultrie, by John Allde :) 

" But some reply, what foole would daunce, 

If that when daunce is doone, 
He may not have at ladyes lips 

That which in daunce he woon." 

This custom is still prevalent among the country people in many, perhaps all, parts of the 
Kingdom. When the Fidler thinks his young couple have had musick enough, he makes his in- 
strument squeak out two notes, which all understand to say, " Kiss her!" (RiTsox.) 

In the Tempest this line occurs : "Curtsied when you have and kissed." To which the follow- 
ing is a Note: "As was antiently done at the beginning of some dances. So in King Henry VIII. 
that Prince says : 

" I were unmannerly to take you out 
And not to kiss you." 

See 'Reed's edit, of Shakspeare, vol. iv. p. 43. 

d In the provincial Poem of " The Collier's Wedding," the Bride is introduced as being way- 
laid, after the ceremony, at the Church Stile, for this purpose. 

The subsequent curious particulars, relating to the Nitptial Kiss in the Church, &c. are from 
Randolph's Letters, cited by Andrews in his Continuation of Henry's Histoiy of Great Britain, 
4to. Loud. 1796, p. 143. Note. He is speaking of the Marriage of Mary Queen of Scots to Lord 
Darnley : " She had on her back the great mourning gown of black, with the great wide mourn- 
ing hood, &c. The rings, which were three, the middle a rich diamond, were put on her finger. 
They kneel together, and many prayers were said over them ; she tarrieth out the mass, and lie 
taheth a Kiss, and leavcth her there, and went to her chamber, whither, within a space, she fol- 
loweth, and being required (according to the solemnity) to cast off her cares, and leave aside these 
sorrowful garments, and give herself to a more pleasant .life, after some pretty refusal, (more, I 
believe, for manner sake than grief of heart,) she suffereth them that stood by, every man that 
could approach, to take out a pin ; and so, being committed to her ladies, changed her garments, 
but went not to bed : to signifie to the World that it was not lust that moved them to marry, 
but only the necessity of her country, not, if God will, to leave it without an heir." 



Among the Anglo Saxons the Nuptial Benediction was performed under a 
Veil, or square piece of Cloth, held at each corner by a tall Man, over the Bride- 
groom and Bride, to conceal her Virgin blushes i but if the Bride was a Widow, 
the Veil was esteemed useless a . 

According to the use of the Church of Sarum, when there was a Marriage be- 
fore Mass, the Parties kneeled together and had a fine linen Cloth (called the 
Care Cloth) laid over their Heads during the time of Mass, till they received the 
Benediction, and then were dismissed 1 *. 

Vaughan, in his " Golden Grove," 8vo. Lond. 1603. Book ii. Signal. O. 2. says: " Among the 
Romans, the future Couple sent certain pledges one to another, which, most commonly they 
themselves afterwards being present, would continue with a religious Kisse." 

[Nor is the Nuptial Kiss an English Ceremony only. In the " Dissertations aur les Antiquites 
de Russie," by Dr. Guthrie, already quoted, we have the following section among the Mar- 
riage Ceremonies, p. 129. 

" Kitra on baiser d' amour des Grecs. 

" Apies quc la benediction nuptiale a declare les jeuncs epoux mari & femme, cc caractere leur 
donne le droit de suivre une coutume aussi singuliere qu'ancienne, qui consiste a se donner le 
kitra* des Grecs on le fameux baiser d'antiquite, si emblcmatique de 1'amour & de 1'attachement, 
dont The"ocritc parle dans la cinquieme Idylle, oil il repr&entc une jeune nymphe qui se plaint 
amerement de son amant Alcippes ; parce que 1'ingrat, a qui ellc a bien voulu donner un baLser, a 
d(5daignd de jouir de cette faveur scion la maniere usitee, c'est-a-dire, en la prenant par les oreilles. 
Tibulle, dans sa cinquieme e'le'gic, liv. II. & Ciceron dans sa vingt-septieme dpitre familiere, 
citent pareillement ce te"moignage curieux de 1'amour, que nous trouvons encore en usage parmi 
les paysans Russes, lorsqu'une ibis engages par le lein du manage ils se donnent le premier 
baiser conjugal."] 

a Strait's Manners and Customs, vol. i. p. 16. 

b Blount in verbo. In the Hereford Missal it is directed that at a particular Prayer, the mar- 
ried Couple shall prostrate themselves, while four Clerks hold the Pall, i. e. the Care Cloth over 
them. See the Appendix to Hearne's Glastonbury, p. 309. et seq. The Rubric in the Sarum 
Manual is somewhat different. " Prosternat se Sponsus et Sponsa in Oratione ad gradum Altaris, 
txtenso super eos Pallio, quod teneant quatuor Clerici per quatuor cornua in Superpelliciis." The 


I have a curious Wedding Sermon by William Whateley, preacher of Ban- 
bury in Oxfordshire, 4to. Lond. 16-.24. entitled, " A Care-Cloth, or a Treatise 
of the Cumbers and Troubles of Marriage." I know not the etymology of the 
word " Care" used here in composition with " Cloth." Whateley has given it 
the ordinary meaning of the word, but I think erroneously. Like many other 
Etymologists, he has adapted it to his own purpose'. 

York Manual also differs here : " Missa dein celebratur, illis genuflectentibus sub Pallio super eos 
extento, quod teneant duo Cleric! in Superpelliceis." 

c Seklen's fifteenth Chapter in his Uxor Hebraica (Opera, torn. iii. p. 633.) treats " de Velaminibus 
item quibus obtccti Sponsi." 

Something like this Care Cloth is used by the modern Jews : from whom it has probably been 
derived into the Christian Church. " There is a square Vestment called Taleth, with pendants 
about it, put over the Head of the Bridegroom and the Bride together." See Leo Modena's History 
of the Riles, Customes, and Manner of Life of the present Jews throughout the World, translated 
by Chilmead, 8vo Lond. 1650. p. 176. 

[Levi in his " Succinct Account of the Rites and Ceremonies of the Jews as observed by them, 
in their different dispersions throughout the World at this present Time," Svo. Lond. p. 132. speaks 
of " a Velvet Canopy." 

He adds, that when the Priest has taken the Glass of Wine into his hand, he says as follows : 

" Blessed art thou, O Lord our God ! King of the Universe, the Creator of the fruit of the Vine. 
Blessed art thou, O Lord our God ! King of the Universe, who hath sanctified us with his com- 
mandments, and hath forbid us fornication, and hath prohibited unto us the betrothed, but hath 
allowed unto us, those that are married unto us, by the means of the CANOPY, and the Wedding 
King : Blessed art thou, O Lord ! the sanctifier of his people Israel, by the means of the CANOPY 
and Wedlock."] 

In the Appendix to Hearne's Hist, and Antiq. of Glastonbury, p. 309. is preserved " Formula 
antiqua nuptias iniis partibus Angliae (occidentalibus nimirum) quae Ecclesiae Hcrefordensis in riti- 
bus Ecclesiasticis ordine sunt usj, celebrandi." The Care-Cloth seems to be described in the fol- 
lowing passage : " Haec Oratio ' S. propiciare Domine,' semper dicatur super Nubentes sub pallio 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. v. Svo. Edinb. 1793. p. 83. the Minis- 
ter of Logierait in Perthshire, speaking of the Superstitious Opinions and Practices of the Parish, 
says : " Immediately before the Celebration of the Marriage Ceremony, every Knot about the Bride 
and Bridegroom (Garters, Shoe-strings, Strings of Petticoats, &c.) is carefully loosened. After 
leaving the Church, the whole company walk round it, keeping the Church walls always upon the 
right hand. The Bridegroom, however, first retires one way with some young men to tie the 
Knots that were loosened about him ; while the young married woman, in the same manner, re- 
tires somewhere else to adjust the disorder of her Dress." 





Bride-Ale, Bride-Hush, and Bride-Stake, are nearly synonymous terms*, and 
all derived from the circumstance of the Bride's selling Ale on the Wedding Day, 

a " The expence of a. Bride- Ale w:is probably defrayed by the Relations and Friends of a happy 
Pair, who were not in circumstances to bear the Charges of a Wedding Dinner." Archaeol. vol. 
xii. p. 12. 

In the " Christen State of Matrimony," 8vo. Lond. 1 543. fol. 48 b. we read : " When they come 
home from the Church, then beginneth excesse of eatyng and dryncking and as much is waisted 
in one daye, as were sufficient for the two newc marled Folkes halfe a year to lyve upon *. 

The following is from the Antiquarian Repertory, vol. iii. p. 24. communicated by Mr. Astle 
from the Court Rolls of Hales-Owen Borough in the County of Salop, (in the hands of Thomas 
Littleton Lord of that Borough,) of the 15th year of Queen Elizabeth : 

" Custom of Bride- Ale. 

" Item, a payne is made that no person or persons that shall brewe any Weddyn Ale to sell, shall 
not brewe above twelve strike of Mault at the most, and that the said persons so married shall not 
keep nor have above eight messe of persons at his dinner within the burrowe : and before his 
brydall dayc he shall keep no unlawfull Games in hys house, nor out of hys house, on pain of 
20 shillings." 

In Harrison's Description of Britain it is remarked : " In feasting also the Husbandmen do 
exceed after their manner, especially at Bridales, &c. where it is incredible to tell what meat is 
consumed and spent, ech one brings such a Dish, or so manie with him, as his Wife and ho doo 
consult upon, but alwaies with this consideration, that the leefer Friend shall have the better 

Thus it appears that among persons of inferior, rank a Contribution was expressly made for the 
purpose of assisting the Bride Groom and Bride in their new situation. This Custom must have 
doubtless been often abused : it breathed however a gret.t deal of philanthropy, and would natu- 

* I know not the meaning of the following Lines in Christopher Brooke's Epithalamium, Signat. K, ii. in 
England's Helicon: 

"The Board being spread, furnish'd with various plenties; 

The Brides fair object in the middle pine' d." 
Opposite in the Margin, is " Dinner. 


for which she received, by way of contribution, whatever handsome price the 
Friends assembled on the occasion chose to pay her for it. 

rally help to increase population by encouraging Matrimony. This Custom of making presents 
at Weddings seems also to have prevailed amongst those of the higher Order. From the Account 
before cited of the Nuptials of the Lady Susan with Sir Philip Herbert, in the reign of James the 
first, it appears that the presents of Plate and other things given by the Noblemen were valued at 
4^.2,500. and that the King gave s.50O, for- the Bride's Jointure. His Majesty gave her away, 
and, as his" manner was, archly observed on the occasion that " if he were unmarried he would not 
give 7ier,but keep her for himself." 

From a passage in Ben Jonson's Silent Woman, Andrews, in his Continuation of Henry's History 
of Great Britain, 4to. p. 529. infers that it seems to have been a general Custom to make presents 
to the married Pair, in proportion to the gay appearance of their Wedding. 

Morant, in his History of Essex, vol. ii. p. 303. speaking of Great Yeldham in Hinckford Hun- 
deed, says : " A House near the Church, was antiently used and appropriated for dressing a Dinner 
for poor Folks when married : and had all Utensils and Furniture convenient for that purpose. 
It hath since been converted into a School." Ibid. p. 499. speaking of Matching in Harlow Half- 
hundred, he says : " A House close to the Church yard, said to be built by one Chimney, 

was designed for the entertainment of poor people on their Wedding Day. It seems to be very 
antient but ruinous." 

Mr. Go'igh, in his Camden, edit. 1789. vol. i. p.341. Hertfordshire ; says : " At Therfield, as at 
Braughing, was till lately a set of Kitchen Furniture lent to the poor at Weddings." 

Hutchinson, in his History of Cumberland, vol. i. p. 553, speaking of the parish of Whitbeck, 
says : " Newly married Peasants beg Corn to sow their first Crop with, and are called Cornlaiters." 

Owen, in his Welsh Dictionary v. CAWSA, says: " It is customary in some parts of Wales for 
poor Women newly married to go to Farmers' Houses to ask for Cheese: which is called Cawsa." 
Also, ibid, in v. CYMHORTH. " The poor people in Wales have a Marriage of Contribution, to 
which every Guest brings a present of some sort of provision or money, to enable the new Couple 
to begin the World." 

Bride-Ales are mentioned by Puttenham in his Arte of Poesie, 4to. Lend. 15S9. p. 69. " During 
the course of Queen Elizabeth's Entertainments at Kenilworth Castle, in 1575, a Bryde-Ale was ce- 
lebrated with a great variety of shews and sports, Lanehatn's Letter, dated the same year.fol. xxvi. 
seq." See Warton's Hist. Eng. Poet. vol. iii. p. 129. 

Newton in his "Herbal for the Bible," p. 94. speaking of Rushes, says: " Herewith be made 
manie pretie imagined Devises for Bride-Ales, and other Solemnities, as little Baskets, Hampers, 
Paniers, Pitchers, Dishes, Combes, Brushes, Stooles, Chaires, Purses with strings, Girdles, and 
manic such other pretie, curious, and artificiall Conceits, which at such times many do take the 
paines to make and hang up in the Houses, as tokens of good-will to the new married Bride : and 
after the Solemnitie ended, to bestow abroad for Bride-Gifts or Presents." 


A Bush at the end of a Stake or Pole was the antient Badge of a Country 
Alehouse b . Around this Bride-Stake, the guests were wont to dance as about a 
May Pole. 

The Bride-Ale appears to have been called in some places a Bidding, from 
the circumstance of the Bride and Bridegroom's bidding, or inviting the Guests . 

Ibid. p. 225. when speaking of the Rose, Newton says. " At Bride-Ales the Houses and Chambers 
were woont to be strawetl with these odoriferous and sweet Herbes : to signifie, that in Wedlocke 
all pensive sullcnnes, and lov, ring cheer, all wrangling strife, jarring, variance, and discorde, ought 
to be utterly excluded and abandoned ; and that, in place thereof, al Mirth, Pleasantnes, Chcerful- 
nes, Mildnes, Ouictncs, and Love should be maintained, and that in matters passing betweene the 
Husband and the Wife, all secresie should be used." 

According to Johnson, the secondary sense of " Bush" is a Bough of a Tree fixed up at a 
Door to shew that Liquors are sold there. Hence the well-known Proverb, " Good Wine needs no 
Bush." There is a Wedding Sermon by Whateley of Banbury, entitled, " a Bride-Bush," as is 
another preached to a new-married Couple at CEsen in Norfolk. See the Collection of Wedding 
Sermons, ISmo.Lond. 1732. 
Thus Ben Jonson : 

" With the Phant'sies of Hey-troll 
Troll about the Bridal Bowl, 
And divide the broad Bride Cake 
Round about the Bride's Stake. 

k Dekker's Wonderfull Yeare, 4to. 1603. Signat. F. 

* A Writer in the Gent. Mag. for May 1784, vol.liv. p. 343- mentions this custom in some parts 
of South Wales, peculiar he thinks to that Country, and still practised at the Marriages of Servants, 
Tradesfolks, and little Farmers- " Before the Wedding an Entertainment is provided, to which 
all the Friends of each party are bid or invited, and to which none fail to bring or send some Con- 
tribution, from a Cow or Calf down to Half-a-crown, or a Shilling. An account of each is kept, 
and if the young Couple do well, it is expected that they should give as much at any future bidding 
of their generous Guests. I have frequently known of s^.50. being thus collected, and have heard 
of a Bidding, which produced even a hundred." 

In the Cambrian Register, 8vo. 1796, p. 430. we read: " Welsh Weddings are frequently pre- 
ceded, on the evening before the Marriage, by presents of Provisions and articles of Household 
Furniture, to the Bride and Bridegroom. On the Wedding-Day, as many as can be collected to- 
gether accompany them to the Church, and from thence home, where a Collection is made in 
money from each of the Guests, according to their Inclination or Ability; which sometimes sup- 
plies a considerable aid in establishing the newly married couple, and in enabling ' them to begin 
the World,' as they call it, with more comfort : but it is, at the same time, considered as a debt 
<o be repaid hereafter, if called upon, at any future Wedding of the Contributors, or of their Friends 


Tn Cumberland it had the appellation of a Bride- Wain, a Term which will be 
best explained by the following extract from the Glossary to Douglas's Virgil, 

or their Children, in similar circumstances. Some time previous to these Weddings, where they 
mean to receive Contributions, a Herald with a Crook or Wand, adorned with ribbons, makes the 
circuit of the neighbourhood, and makes his ' Bidding' or Invitation in a prescribed form. The 
knight errant Cavalcade on horseback, the Carrying off the Bride, the Rescue, the wordy War in 
rythm between the parties, &c. which formerly formed a singular Spectacle of mock contest at 
the celebration of Nuptials, I believe to be now almost, if not altogether, laid aside every where 
through the Principality." 

The following is from the Gent. Mag. for 1789, vol. lix. p. 99. 

" Bidding. 

" As we intend entering the Nuptial State, we propose having a Bidding on the occasion on 
Thursday the 20th day of September, instant, at our own House on the Parade : where the favour of 
your good Company will be highly esteemed ; and whatever Benevolence you please to confer on us, 
shall be gratefully acknowledged and retaliated on a similar occasion by your most obedient humble 
servants, William Jones, -. Caermarthen, 

Ann Duvies, S Sept. 4. 1787- 

" N. B. The Young Man's Father (Stephen Jones) and the Young Woman's Aunt (Ann Williams) 
will be thankfull for all favours conferred on them that Day." 

Another Writer in the Gent. Mag. for 1784, vol. liv. p. 484. mentions a similar Custom in Scot- 
land called PENNY WEDDINGS. " When there was a Marriage of two poor people who were es- 
teemed by any of the neighbouring Gentry, they agreed among themselves to meet, and have a 
dance upon the occasion, the result of which was a handsome Donation, in order to assist the new 
married Couple in their out-set in Life." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. iv. (8vo. Edinb. 1792.) p. 86. Parish of Draiiiy, 
Co. of Elgin : we are told ' a Penny Wedding is when the expence of the Marriage entertainment 
is not defrayed by the young Couple, or their Relations, but by a Club among the Guests. Two 
hundred people, of both sexes, will sometimes be convened on an occasion of this kind." 

In the same work, vol. xxi. (8vo. Edinb. 1799.) p. 146. Parish of Monquhitter. Speaking of the 
time of " our Fathers," the Minister observes : " Shrove Tuesday, Valentine Eve, the Rood- day, 
&c. &c. were accompanied by Pastimes and Practices congenial to the youthful and ignorant mind. 
The Market place was to the Peasant what the Drawing-room is to the Peer, the Theatre of Shew 
and of Consequence. The Scene, however, which involved every Amusement and every Joy of an 
idle and illiterate age, was the PENNY BRIDAL. When a Pair were contracted, they for a stipu- 
lated consideration bespoke their Wedding at a certain Tavern, and then ranged the Country iu 
every direction to solicit Guests. One, two, and even three hundred would have convened on these 
occasions, to make merry at their own expence for two or more days. This scene of feasting, 
drinking, dancing, wooing, fighting, c. was always enjoyed with the highest relish, and, until 
obliterated by a similar scene, furnished ample Materials,for rural Mirth and rural Scandal. But now 
the Penny Bridal is reprobated as an Index of want of Money and of want of Taste. The Market - 


v. Thig f : " There was a Custom in the Highlands and North of Scotland, where 
new married persons, who had no great stock, or others low in their fortune, 

place is generally occupied by people in business. Athletic amusements are confined to School- 
Boys. Dancing taught by itinerant Masters, Cards and Conversation, are the Amusements now in 
vogue ; and the pleasures of the Table, enlivened by a moderate Glass, are frequently enjoyed in a 
suitable degree by people of every class." 

In the same work, vol. xv. Svo. Edinb. 1795. p. 63C. Parish of Avoch, County of Ross, it is said : 
" Marriages in this place are generally conducted in the stile of Penny Weddings. Little other 
fare is provided except Bread, Ale, and Whisky. The Relatives, who assemble in the morning, are 
entertained with a dram and a drink gratis. But, after the ceremony is performed, every Man 
pays for his drink. The neighbours then convene in great numbers. A Fiddler or two, with 
perliaps a boy to scrape on an old violoncello, are engaged. A barn is allotted for the dancing, 
and a house for drinking. And thus they make meny for two or three days, till Saturday night. 
On Sabbath, after returning from church, the married Couple give a sort of Dinner or Knti rUin- 
ment to the present friends on both sides. So that these Weddings, on the whole, bring little gaiu 
or loss to the parties." 

' The subsequent is extracted from the Cumberland Packet, a Newspaper so called : 

' Bride Wain. 

There let Hymen oft appear 
In Saffron robe and Taper clear, 
And Pomp and Feast and Revelry, 
With Mask and antient Pageantiy. 

George Hayton, who married Ann, the daughter of Joseph and Dinah Collin of Crossley Mill, 
purposes having a Bride Wain at his House at Crossley near Mary Port on Thursday May ?th next, 
(1789) where he will be happy to see his Friends and Well-wishers, for whose amusement there 
will be a Saddle, two Bridles, a pair of Gands d'amour Gloves, which whoever wins is sure to be 
married within the Twelve Months, a Girdle (Ceinture de Venus) possessing qualities not to be 
described, and many other Articles, Sports, and Pastimes, too numerous to mention, but which 
can never prove tedious in the exhibition, &c." 

A short time after a Match is solemnized, the parties give notice as above, that on such a 
Day they propose to have a Bride-wain. In consequence of this, the whole neighbourhood for 
several miles round assemble at the Bridegroom's house, and join in all the various pastimes of 
the Country. This Meeting resembles our Wakes and Fairs : and a Plate or Bowl is fixed in a 
convenient place, where each of the Company contributes in proportion to his inclination and 
ability, and according to the degree of respect the parties are held in -. and by this very laudable 
Custom a worthy Couple have frequently been benefited at setting out in life, with a supply of 
money of from ten to fourscore pounds. 

Sir Frederic Morton Eden, Bart, in his work on " The State of the Poor," 4to. Lond. 1797, 
Tol. i. p. 598. observes, " The Custom of a general Feasting at Weddings and Christenings is still 


brought Carts and Horses with them to the Houses of their Relations and 

continued in many Villages in Scotland, in Wales, and in ^Cumberland ; Districts, which, as the 
refinements of Legislation and Manners are slow in reaching them, are most likely to exhibit Ves- 
tiges of Customs deduced from remote antiquity, or founded on the simple dictates of Nature : 
and indeed it is not singular, that Marriages, Births, Christenings, House-warmings, &c. should 
be occasions in which people of all Classes and all Descriptions think it right to rejoice and make 
merry. In many parts of these Districts of Great Britain, as well as in Sweden and Denmark, all 
such institutions, now rendered venerable by long use, are religiously observed. It would bo 
deemed ominous, if not impious, to be married, have a Child born, &c. without something of a 
Feast. And long may the custom last : for it neither leads to drunkenness and riot, nor is it costly; 
as alas ! is so commonly the case in convivial Meetings in more favoured regions. On all these oc- 
casions, the greatest part of the provisions is contributed by the Neighbourhood : some furnishing 
the Wheaten Flour for the Pastry ; others, Barley or Oats for Bread and Cakes ; some, Poultry for 
Pies; some, Milk for the Frumenty) some, Eggs; some, Bacon ; and some, Butter ; and, in short, 
every article necessary for a plentiful Repast. Every Neighbour, how high or low soever, makes 
it a point to contribute something. 

" At a Daubing (which is the erection of a House of Clay,) or at a BHIDE WAIN, (which is the 
carrying of a Bride home,) in Cumberland, many hundreds of persons are thus brought together, 
and as it is the Custom also, in the latter instance, to make presents of money, one or even two 
hundred pounds are said to have sometimes been collected. A deserving young Couple are thus, by 
a public and unequivocal Testimony of the good will of those who best know them, encouraged to 
persevere in the paths of Propriety : and are also enabled to begin the world with some advantage. 
The birth of a Child also, instead of being thought or spoken of as bringing on the parents new 
and heavy burthens, is thus rendered, as it no doubt always ought to be, a Comfort and a Blessing : 
and in every sense, an occasion of rejoicing." " I own," adds this honourable advocate in the 
cause of humanity, " I cannot figure to myself a more pleasing, or a more rational way of render- 
ing sociableness and mirth subservient to prudence and virtue." 

" In most parts of Essex it is a common Custom, when poor people marry, to make a kind of 
Dog-hanging or Money-gathering, which they call a Wedding-Dinner, to which they invite Tag 
and Rag, all that will come : where, after Dinner, upon summons of the Fidler, who setteth forth 
his Voice like a Town-Crier, a Table being set forth, and the Bride set simpering at the upjjei 1 
end of it : the Bridegroom standing by with a white Sheet athwart his shoulders, whilst the 
people march up to the Bride, present their money and wheel about. After this offering is over, 
then is a Pair of Gloves laid upon the Table, most monstrously bedaubed about with Ribbon, 
which by way of auction is set to sale, at who gives most, and he whose hap it is to have them, 
shall withall have a Kiss of the Bride." History of S'. Billy of Billericay, & his Squire Ricardo, 
(a very admirable Parody on Don Quixote,) chap. ix. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xviii. (8vo. Edinb. 1796.) p. 122. Parish of Gar- 
gunnock, Co. of Stirling; we read : " It is seldom there are social Meetings. Marriages, Baptisms, 
Funerals, and the Conclusion of the Harvest, are almost the only occasions of Feasting. At these 


Friends, and received from them Corn, Meal, Wool, or whatever else they 
could get." 

times there is much unnecessary expence. Marriages usually happen in April and November. 
The Month of May is cautiously avoided. A principal tenant's son or daughter has a crowd of 
attendants at Marriage, and the Entertainment lasts for two days at the expence of the Parties. 
The Company at large pay for the Musick." 

Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man, (Works, folio, p. 169,) speaking of the Manks 
Wedding Feasts, says : " Notice is given to all the Friends and Relations on both sides, tho' they 
live ever so far distant. Not one of these, unless detained by sickness, fails coining and bringing 
something towards the Feast : the nearest of kin, if they are able, commonly contribute the most, 
so that they have vast quantities of Fowls of all sorts : I have seen a dozen of Capons in one plat- 
ter, and sis or eight fat Geese in another ; Sheep and Hogs roasted whole, and Oxen divided but 
into quarters." 

In the "Glossarium Suio-Gothicum, auctore I. Hire, fol. Upsalice 1/69. we read : v." BRUDSKAL. 
Gifu-a i Brudslculen dicitur de Erano vel munere collectitio, quod Sponsae die Nuptiarum a Con- 
vivis in pateram mittitur, habito antea brevi Sermone a praescnte Sacerdotc. Nescio, an hue 
quicquam facial Tributum illud, quod in Gallia Sponsffi dabatur Escuellatta dictum, et de quo Du- 
Fresne in Gloss. Lat." 

Ibid. r. JUL. p. 1005. " HEMKOMOL, Convivium quod novi Conjugcs in suis tedibus instruwit." 

In Vaughan's Golden Grove, 8vo. Lond. 1608. Signat. O. 4. we read : " The Marriage Day 
being come, (in some Shires of England,) the invited Chests do assemble together, and at the 
very instant of the Marriage, doe cast their Presents (which they bestowe upon the new-married 
Folkcs) into a Bason, Dish, or Cup, which standeth upon the Table in the Church, ready prepared 
for that purpose. But this Custome is onely put in use amongst them which stand in need." 

It appears from Allan Ramsay's Poems, 4to. Edinb. 1721. p. 120. that it was a fashion in Scot- 
land for the Friends to assemble in the new-married Couple's house, before they had risen out of 
Bed, and to throw them their several Presents upon the Bed-cloaths : 

" As fou's the House cou'd pang, 

To see the young Fouk or they raise, 
Gossips came in ding dang, 

And wi' a soss aboon the claiths, 
Ilk ane their Gifts down flang," &c. 

Here a Note informs us, " They commonly throw their Gifts of Household Furniture above the 
Bed-cloaths where the young Folks are lying." One gives twelve horn spoons; another a pair of 
tongs, &c. 

Mr. Park, in his Travels into the Interior of Africa, describes a Wedding among the Moors : 
p.135. April 10, in the evening, theTabala or large drum was beat, to announce aWedding. A great 
number of people of both sexes assembled. A Woman was beating the drum, and the other Women 
joining at times in chorus, by setting up a shrill scream. Mr. Park soon retired, and having 
been asleep in his hut, was awakened by an old Woman, who said she had brought him a Present 



tn Scotland termed BROOSE, in Westmorland called 


.'.-> yjiw"i: ! '-rl- " ,:>-'< 

This is mentioned in the curious local Poem by Edward Chicken, parish 
clerk of St. John's, Newcastle upon Tyne, entitled " The Collier's Wedding," 
8vo. Newc. 1 764. (2d edit.) 

" Four rustic Fellows wait the while 

To kiss the Bride at the Church-stile: 

Then vig'rous mount their felter'd steeds 

To scourge them going, head and tail, 

To win what Country call " the Kail." 

The Glossary to Burn's Scottish Poems describes " BHOOSE, (a word which 
has the same meaning with " Kail,") to be " a Race at Country Weddings, who 
shall first reach the Bridegroom's House on returning from Church." The 
meaning of words is every where most strangely corrupted. " Broose" was 
originally, I take it for granted, the name of the Prize on the above occasion, 
and not of the Race itself: for whoever first reaches the House to bring home 
the good news, wins the " Kail," i. e. a smoking Prize of Spice Broth a , which 

from the Bride. She had a wooden Bowl in her hand ; and before Mr. Park was recovered from 
his surprize, discharged the contents full in his face. Finding it to be the same sort of Holy 
Water with which a Hottentot priest is said to sprinkle a new-married couple, he supposed it 
to be a mischievous frolic, but was informed it was a nuptial. benediction from the Bride's own 
person, and which on such occasions is always received by the young, unmarried Moors, as a mark 
of distinguished favour. Such being the case, Mr. Park wiped his face, and sent his acknowledge- 
ments to the Lady. The Wedding-drum continued to beat, and the Women to sing all night. 
About nine in the morning the Bride was brought in state from her Mother's Tent, attended by a 
number of Women, who carried her Tent, (a present from the husband,) some bearing up the 
poles, others holding by the strings, and marched singing until they came to the place appointed 
for her residence, where they pitched the Tent. The Husband followed with a number of Men, 
leading four Bullocks, which they tied to the Tent-strings, and having killed another and distri- 
buted the Beef among the people, the Ceremony closed." 

a [Compare Jamieson's Etymolog. Diet, of the Scottish Language, v. BRUSE.] I know not 
whether the following passage is to be referred to this, or is given only as describing the Bride- 
groom's aukwardness in supping Broth. New Essayes and Characters, &c. by John Stephens, jun. 
of Lincoln's Inn, Gent. 8vo. Lond. 1631. p. 353. sneaking of a plain Country Bridegroom, the 


stands ready prepared to reward the Victor in this singular kind of Race. 

^ --,.._,._ L rst -- ---._.-___ --.___ "I - L " 

Author says : " Although he points out his bravery with Ribbands, yet he hath no vaine glory ; 
for he contexnnes fine cloathes with dropping pottage in his bosome." 

[That riding for the Broose is still kept up in Scotland, may be seen by the following extract 
from the account of Marriages in the Courier Newspaper of Jan. ICth, 1313. " On the 29th ult. 
at Mauchline, by the Rev. David Wilson, in Bankhcad, near Cunmoek, Mr. Robert Ferguson, in 
Whitehill of New Cumnock, to Miss Isabella Andrew, in Fail, parish of Tarbolton. Immediately 
after the Marriage, four Men of the Bride's company started for the Broos, from Mauchline to 
Whitehill, a distance of thirteen miles, and when one of them was sure of the prize, a young 
lady, who had started after they were a quarter of a mile off, outstripped them all, and notwith- 
standing the interruption of getting a shoe fastened on her Mare, at a smithy on the road, she 
gained the prize, to the astonishment of both parties."] 

In "The History and Antiquities of Claybrook in Leicestershire," by the Rev. A. Macaulay, 8vo. 
Lond. 1791. we read, p. 130. "A Custom formerly prevailed in this Parish and neighbourhood, 
of Riding for the Bride-Cake, which took place when the Bride was brought home to her new 
habitation. A Pole was erected in the front of the House, three or four yards high, with the Cake 
stuck upon the top of it. On the instant that the Bride set out from her old habitation, a com- 
pany of young Men started off on horseback ; and he who was fortunate enough to reach the Pole 
first, and knock the Cake down with his stick, had the honour of receiving it from the hands of 
a Damsel on the point of a wooden Sword ; and with this trophy he returned in triumph to meet 
the Bride and her attendants, who, upon their arrival in the village, were met by a party, whose 
office it was to adorn their Horses' heads with Garlands, and to present the Bride with a Posey. 
The last Ceremony of this sort that took place in the parish of Claybrook was between sixty and 
seventy years ago, and was witnessed by a person now living in the parish. Sometimes the Bride 
Cake was tried for by persons on foot, and then it was called 'throwing the Quintal,' which was per- 
formed with heavy bars of iron ; thus affording a trial of muscular strength as well as of gallantry. 

" This Custom has been long discontinued as well as the other. The only Custom now remain- 
ing at Weddings, that tends to recall a classical image to the mind, is that of sending to a disap- 
pointed Lover a Garland made of willow, variously ornamented ; accompanied, sometimes, with 
a pair of Gloves, a white Handkerchief, and a Smelling Bottle." 

I cannot help observing here, that it is a pity that before the innocent gaieties of these festi- 
vities had been laid aside at Claybrook, the inhabitants had not abrogated this most illiberal Cus- 
tom, which adds Insult to Misfortune, and for which the miserable conceit of the Smelling Bottle 
(no doubt to prevent fainting) offers but a very contemptible apology. 

Mr. Macaulay mentions here that in Minorca, if not now, at least forty years ago, a Custom as 
old as Theocritus and Virgil was kept up, i. e. the Ceremony of throwing Nuts and Almonds at 
Weddings, that the Boys might scramble for them. " Spargite, Marite, Nuces." Virg. See 
before, vol. i. p. 301. 

Malkin, in his Tour in South Wales, Glamorganshire, p. 67. says : " 111 may it befal the Tra- 
veller, who has the misfortune of meeting a Welsh Wedding on the road. He would be inclined 


This same kind of Contest is called in Westmorland " riding for the Ribbon b ." 


In the North of England, among the Colliers, &c. it is customary for a party 
to watch the Bridegroom's coming out of Church after the Ceremony, in order 
to demand Money for a Foot-Ball, a claim that admits of no refusal c . 

Coles, in his Dictionary, speaks of another kind of Ball Money given by a 
new Bride to her old Play-fellows. 

It is the custom in Normandy for the Bride to throw a Ball over the Church, 
which Bachelors and married Men scramble for. They then dance together d . 

to suppose that he had fallen in with a company of Lunatics escaped from their confinement. It 
is the custom of the whole party who are invited, both Men and Women, to ride full speed to the 
Church-porch ; and the person who arrives there first, has some privilege or distinction at the 
Marriage Feast. To this important object all inferior considerations give way; whether the safety 
of his Majesty's subjects, who are not going to be married, or their own, be incessantly endangered 
by boisterous, unskilful, and contentious jockeyship. The Natives, who are acquainted with the 
Custom, and warned against the Cavalcade by its vociferous approach, turn aside at respectful 
distance : but the Stranger will be fortunate if he escapes being overthrown by an onset, the occa- 
sion of which puts out of sight that urbanity so generally characteristic of the people." 

A respectable Clergyman informed me, that riding in a narrow lane near Macclesfield in Che- 
shire, in the summer of 1799, he was suddenly overtaken (and indeed they had well nigh rode 
over him) by a nuptial party at full speed, who before they put up at an inn in the town, where 
they stopped to take some refreshment, described several Circles round the Market-place, or rode, 
as it were, several Rings. 

b In " The Westmorland Dialect," 8vo. Kendall, 179O. a Country Wedding is described with no 
little humour. The Clergyman is represented as chiding the parties for not coming before him 
nine months sooner. The Ceremony being over, we are told that " Awe raaid haam fearful wele, 
an the youngans raaid for th' Ribband, me Cusen Betty banged awth Lads an gat it for sure." 

c " Ce sont des Insolences, plutot que des Superstitions, que ce qui se pratique en certains 
lieux, oil 1'on a de coutume de jetter de I'eau benite sur les personnes qui viennent de fiancer, 
lorsqu'elles sortent de 1'Eglise; de les battre, quand Us sont d'une autre ParoUse : de les enfermer 
dans les Eglises ; d'exiger d"elles de I' argent pour boire ; de les prendre par la foi du Corps, & de les 
porter dans des Cabarets j de les insulter ; et de faire de grands bruits, de grandes huees, & det 
charivaris, quand elles refusent de dormer de Fargent d ceux qui lew en demandent. Mais ces Inso- 
lences sont proscrites." Traite des Superstitions par Jean Baptiste Thiers, 12mo. Par. 1704. 
torn. iii. p. 477- 

d I was informed of this by the Abbe de la Rue. 

80 v.i/ 


At Rome the manner was that two Children should lead the Bride, and a 
third bear before her a Torch of White Thorn, in honour of Ceres. 

I have seen foreign Prints of Marriages, where Torches are represented as 
carried in the procession. I know not whether this Custom ever obtained in 
England, though from the following lines in Herrick's Hesperides, one might 
be tempted to think that it had : 

Upon a Maid tfiat dyed the Day she was marryed. 

" That Morne which saw me made a Bride, 
The Ev'ning witnest that I dy'd. 
Tfiose holy Lights, wherewith they guide 
Unto the Bed the bashful Bride, 
Serv'd but as Tapers for to burne 
And light my Reliques to their Urne. 
This Epitaph, which here you see, 
Supply'd the Epithalamie a ." 

a P. 124. Mr. Gough, in the Introduction to his second volume of Sepulchr. Mon. p. 7. speak- 
ing of Funeral Torches, says : "The use of Torches was however retained alike in the day-time, 
as was the case at WEDDINGS; whence Propertius, beautifully, 

" Viximus insignes inter utramque facem :" 
Thus illustrated by Ovid, Epist. Cydippes ad Acontium : 1. 172. 

" Et/ace pro thalami fax mihi mortis adest j" 

and Fasti ii. 1. 561. speaking of February, a month set apart for Parentalia, or Funeral Anniver- 
saries, and therefore not proper for Marriage : 

" Conde tuas, Hymeruse, faces, et ab ignibus atris 
Aufer, habent alias mcesta Sepulchra faces." 

" The Romans admitted but five Torches in their Nuptial Solemnities." Browne's Cyrus Gar- 
den, or the Quincunx mystically considered, p. 191. 

In Swinburne's Account of Gypsies in his Journey through Calabria, p. 304. is the following 
remark : " At their Weddings they carry Torches, and have Paranymphs to give the Bride away, 
with many other unusual Rites." 

Lamps and Flambeaux are in use at present at Japanese Weddings. " The Nuptial Torch," 
(says the Author of Hymen, &c. an Account of the Marriage Ceremonies of different Nations, Svo. 
Lond. 1760. p. 149.) " used by the Greeks and Romans, has a striking conformity to the Flam- 



At the Marriages of the Anglo-Saxons, the parties were attended to Church 
by Music a . 

beaux of the Japanese. The most considerable difference is, that, amongst the Romans, tin* 
Torch was carried before the Bride by one of her Virgin Attendants ; and among the Greeks, that 
office was performed by the Bride's Mother." 

In the Greek Church the Bridegroom and Bride enter the Church with lighted Wax Tapers in 
their hands. Ibid. p. 153. 

Torches are used at Turkish Marriages : Thus Selden ; " Deductio sequitur in Domum, nee sine 
FACIBUS, et Sponsa Matri Sponsi traditur. jQuamprimum vero Sponsa Cubiculum ingreditur, 
Maritus pede suo Uxoris pedem tangit statunque ambo recluduntur." Uxor Hebraica. (Opera, 
torn. iii. p. 686.) 

* Strutt's Manners and Customs, vol. i. p. 76. 

In "The Christen State of Matrimony," 8ro. Lond. 1543. p. 48. we read as follows : " Early in- 
the mornyng the Weddyng people begynne to excead in superfluous eatyug and drinkyng, wherof 
they spytte untyll the halfe Sermon be done, and when they come to the preachynge, they are 
halfe droncke, some all together. Therfore regard they neyther the prcchyng nor prayer, but 
etond there only because of the Custome. Such folkes also do come to the Church with all man- 
ner of pompe and pride, and gorgiousnes of rayment and jewels. They come with a great noyse 
of HARPES, LUTES, KYTTES, BASENS, and DUOMMES, wherwyth they trouble the whole Church and 
hyndre them in matters pertayninge to God. And even as they come to the Churche, so go they 
from the Churche agayne, lyght, nyce, in shameful pompe and vainc wantonesse." 

The following is from Veron's "Hunting of Purgatory to death," Lond. 1561. fol. 51 b. "I 
knewe a Priest (this is a true tale that I tell you, and no Lye) whiche when any of his parishioner* 
should be maryed, woulde take his Backe-pype, and go fetche theym to the Churche, playnge 
sweetelye afore them, and then would he laye his Instrument handsomely upon the Aultare, tyll he 
had maryed them and sayd Masse. Which thyng being done, he would gentillye bringe then* 
home agayne with Backe-pype. Was not this Priest a true Ministrell, thynke ye ? for he dyd not 
conterfayt the Ministrell, but was one in dede." 

Puttenham, in his " Arte of English Poesie," 4to. Lond. 15S9. p. 69. speaks of " blind Harpers or 
such like Tauerne Minstrels that give a fit of mirth for a groat, and their matters being for the 
most part Stories of old time, as the Tale of Sir Topas, the Reportes of Bevis of Southampton, 
Guy of Warwickc, Adam Bell, and Clymme of the Clough, and such other old Romances, or 
historical! Rimes, made purposely for recreation of the common people at Christmasse diners and 
Brideales, and hi Tauernes and Ale-houses, and such other places of base resort." 


In the old History of John Newchombe, the wealthy clothier of Newbury, 
cited by Strutt, vol. iii. p. 154. speaking of his Marriage and the Bride's going 
to Church, the writer observes, "there was a noise of Musicians that play'd 
all the way before her." 

Dame Sibil Turfe, in character, in Ben Jonson's Play bf "A Tale of a Tub," 
is introduced reproaching her Husband as follows : " A Clod you shall be called, 
to let no Music go afore your Child to Church, to chear her heart up !" and 
Scriben, seconding the good old Dame's rebuke, adds: "She's ith' right, Sir; 
for your Wedding Dinner is starved without Music." 

This requisite has not been omitted in the Collier's Wedding : 

" The Pipers wind and take their post, 
And go before to clear the coast." 

The rejoicing by ringing of Bells at Marriages of any consequence, is every 
where common. On the fifth Bell at the Church of Kendall in Westmorland is 
the following Inscription, alluding to this usage : 

In Christopher Brooke's Epithalamium, Signal. R. 2. in England's Helicon, we read : 

" Now whiles slow Howres doe feed the Times delay, 
Confus'd Discourse, with Musicke mijct among, 
Fills up the Semy-circle of the Day." 

In the Margin opposite is put " Afternoone Musicke." 

In Griffith's "Bethel, or a Forme for Families," 8vo. Lond. 1C34. is the following on Marriage 
Feasts, p. 279 : " Some cannot be merry without a noise of Fidlers, who scrape acquaintance at 
the first sight; nor sing, unlesse the Divell himselfe come in for a part, and the ditty be made in 
Hell, &c." He had before said : " We joy indeed at Weddings ; but how ? Some please them- 
selves in breaking broad, I had almost said bawdy Jests." 

Speaking of Wedding Entertainments, Ibid, he says : " Some drink healths so long till they 
loose it, and (being more heathenish in this than was Ahasuerus at his Feast) they urge their 
Companions to drinke by measure, out of measure." 

Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man, (Works, fol. edit. p. 169.) tells us that at the 
Marriages of the Inhabitants, " they are preceded (to Church) by Musick, who play all the while 
before them the Tune, the Black and the Grey, and no other is ever used at Weddings." He adds 
" that when they arrive at the Church-yard, they walk three times round the Church before they 
enter it." 


" In Wedlock bands, 
All ye who join with hands, 

Your hearts unite; 
So shall our tuneful tongues combine 

To laud the nuptial rite b ." 


Among the Anglo-Saxons, as Strutt informs us in his Manners and Customs, 
vol. i. p. 76. after the nuptial Feast, " the remaining part of the day was spent 
by the youth of both sexes in mirth and dancing, while the graver sort sat down 
to their drinking bout, in which they highly delighted." 

Among the higher ranks there was, in later times, a Wedding Sermon 3 , an 
Epithalamium b , and at night a Masque . 

It was a general custom between the Wedding Dinner and Supper to have 
dancing d . 

- "V* " ' ~ _ ~_ 

b Nicolson and Burn's History of Westmorland and Cumberland, vol. i. p. 62O. 

See pp. 65. 72. 

b In Hernck's Hesperides, p. 258. are ten short Songs, 01 rather Choral Gratulations, entitled 
" Connubii Flores, or the Well Wishes at Weddings." 

c It appears from the Account of the Marriage Ceremonials of Philip Herbert and the Lady 
Susan in the time of James the first, that in grand Weddings it was usual to have a Masque at 
night. " At night there was a Masque in the Hall." 

(1 Antiq. Convivial, fol. 68. " Quas epulas omnes Tripudia atque Saltationes comitantur. Pos- 
tremo Sponsa adrepta ex Saltatione subito atque Sponsus in Thalamum deducuntur." 

In " The Christen State of Matrimony," Svo. Lond. 1543. fol. 49. we read : " After the Bancket 
and Feast, there begynnethe a vayne, madde, and unmanerlye fashion, for the Bryde must be 
brought into an open dauncynge place. Then is there such a rennynge, leapynge and flyngyng 
amonge them, then is there suche a lyftynge up and discoverynge of the Damselles clothes and 
other Womennes apparcll, that a Man might thynke they were sworne to (he Dcvels Daunce. 
Then muste the poore Bryde kepe foote with al Dauncers and refuse none, how scabbed, foule, 
droncken, rude, and shameles soever he be. Then must she oft tymes heare and se much wycked- 
nesse and many an uncomely word; and that noyse and romblyng endureth even tyll Supper," 


The Cushion Dance at Weddings is thus mentioned in the " Apophthegms of 
King James, the Earl of Woreester," &c. Iflmo. Lond. 1658. p. 60. A Wed- 
ding Entertainment is spoken of. " At last when the Masque was ended and 
Time had brought in the Supper, the Cushion led the Dame out of the Par- 
lour into the Hall" &c. e 

So, in the " Summe of the Holy Scripture," &c. 8vo. Lond. 1547. Signal. H. 3. b. " Suffer not 
vour Children to go to Weddings or Banckettesj for nowe a daies one can learne nothing there 
but ribaudry and foule wordes." 

Compare also Steevens's edit, of Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 193. Note. 

Northbrooke, in his " Treatise against Dauncing," p. 137. says : " In the Counsell of Laoditia, 
A. D. 364. it was decreed thus : It is not meete for Christian Men to daunce at their Manages. 
Let the Cleargie aryse and go their wayes, when the players on the Instruments (which serve for 
dauncing) doe begynne to playe, least by their presence they shoulde seeme to allowe that wan- 
tonnessc." Fidlers are called Crowders. Ibid. p. 141. 

In Scott's Mock-Marriage, a Comedy, 4to. Lond. 1696. p. 50. it is said : 

" You are not so merry as Men in your condition should be ; What ! a Couple of Weddings and. 
not a dance." 

* So, in the popular old Ballad called The Winchester Wedding : 

" And now they had din'd, advancing 

Into the midst of the Hall, 
The Fidlers struck up for dancing, 

And Jeremy led up the Brawl. 
Sucky, that danc'd with the Cushion, &c." 

In "The Dancing Master," &c. printed by J. Heptinstall for Samuel Sprint and H. Playford, at 
his Shop in the Temple Change, or at his House in Arundel Street in the Strand, 1698. p. 7. is an 
account of 

" Joan Sanderson or the Cushion Dance, 
an old Round Dance. 

" This Dance is begun by a single person, (either Man or Woman,) who taking a Cushion in his 
hand, dances about the Room, and at the end of the Tune he stops and sings, This Dance it will no 
farther go. The Musician answers, I pray you, good Sir, why say you so? Man. Because Joan Sanderson 
will not come to. Musick. She mint come to, and she shall come to, and she must come whether she 
will or no. Then he lays down the Cushion before a Woman, on which she kneels and he kisses 
her, singing, Welcom, Joan Sanderson, welcom, teelcom. Then she rises, takes up the Cushion, 
and both dance, singing, Prinkum-prank'um is a fine Dance, and shall we go dance it once again, 
nd once again, and shall we go dance it once again ? Then making a stop, the Woman sings as 
before, This Dance it will no farther go. Musick. I pray you, Madam, why say you so? Woman. 


In Strype's Annals of the Reformation, vol. ii. p. 394. anno 1575, among the 
various Sports, &c. used to entertain Queen Elizabeth at Kenelworth Castle, he 
tells us, " That afternoon ( as the relator expresseth it) in honour of this Kenel- 
worth Castle, and of God and St. Kenelme, (whose day by the Kalendar this 
was,) was a solemn Country Bridal, with running at Quintin" The Queen 
stayed here nineteen days. 

It appears from the Glossary to Bishop Rennet's Parochial Antiquities that 
the Quintain was antiently a customary sport at Weddings. He says it was used 
in his time at Blackthorne, and at Deddington, in Oxfordshire. It is supposed 
to have been a Roman Exercise, left by that people at their departure from this 
Island f . 

Because John Sanderson will not come to. Musick. He must come to, &c. (as before.) And so she 
lays down the Cushion before a Man, who, kneeling upon it, salutes her, she singing. Welcome, 
John Sanderson, &c. Then lie taking up the Cushion, they take hands and dance round, singing 
as before, and thus they do till the whole Company are taken into the Ring. Then the Cushion 
is laid before the first Man, the Woman singing, This Dance, &c. (as before,) only instead of Come 
to, they sing Go fro : and, instead of Welcome John Sanderson, &c. they sing Farewell John Sander- 
son, farewell, farewell ; and so they go out, one by one, as they came in. Note, the Woman is 
kiss'd by all the Men in the Ring, at her coming in, and going out, and likewise the Man by 
the Women." 

The following Extract from Selden's Table Talk, under "King of England," 7. is illustrative of 
our Cushion Dance. " The Court of England is much alter'd. At a solemn Dancing, first you 
have the grave Measures, then the Corrantoes and the Galliards, and this is kept up with Ce- 
remony, at length to French-more," (it should be Trench-more) " and the Cushion Dance, and 
then all the Company dance, Lord and Groom, Lady and Kitchin Maid, no distinction. So in 
our Court in Queen Elizabeth's time, gravity and state were kept up. In King James's time 
things .were pretty well. But in King Charles's time there has been nothing but French-more, and 
the Cushion dance, omnium gatherum, tolly, polly, hoite come toite." 

In the same Work, under the head "Excommunication," is an allusion to the custom of danc- 
ing at Weddings : " Like the Wench that was to be married : she asked her Mother, when 'twas 
done, if she should go to Bed presently ? no, says her Mother, you must dine first ; and then to 
bed, Mother ? no, you must dance after dinner ; and then to bed, Mother ? no, you must go to 
supper," &c. 

f We read in Blount's Glossographia, v. QUINTAIN, that it is " a Game or Sport still in request at 
Marr.iages, in some parts of this Nation, specially in Shropshire : the manner, now corruptry thus, 
a Quintin, Buttress, or thick Plank of Wood, is set fast in the Ground of the High-way, where 
the Bride and Bridegroom are to pass ; and Poles are provided ; with which the young Men run 


Divination at Marriages was practised in times of the remotest antiquity. 
Vallancey tells us that in the Memoirs of the Etruscan Academy of Cortona 
is the drawing of a picture found in Herculaneum, representing a Marriage. In 
the front is a Sorceress casting the Five Stones. The Writer of the Memoir 
justly thinks she is divining. The figure exactly corresponds with the first and 
principal cast of the Irish Purin : all five are cast up, and the first Catch is on 
the back of the hand, lie has copied the Drawing : On the back of the hand 
stands one, and the remaining four on the ground. Opposite the Sorceress is 
the Matron, attentive to the Success of the Cast. No Marriage Ceremony was 

a Tilt on horseback, and he that breaks most Poles, and shews most activity, wins the 

[From Aubrey's Remains of Gentilisme and Judaism it should appear that this was a common 
sport at Weddings, till the breaking out of the Civil Wars, even among people in the lower rank 

of life.] 

" On Offham Green, says Mr. Hasted, Hist, of Kent, vol. ii. p. 224. " there stands a Quintin, a 
thing now rarely to be met with, being a Machine, much used in former times by youth, as well 
to try their own activity, as the swiftness of their Horses in running at it. (He gives an engraving 
of it.) The Cross-piece of it is broad at one end, and pierced full of Holes ; and a Bag of Sand is 
hung at the other, and swings round on being moved with any blow. The pastime was for the 
youth on horseback to run at it as fast as possible, and hit the broad part in his career with much 
force. He that by chance hit it not at all, was treated with loud peals of derision ; and he who 
did hit it, made the best use of his swiftness, lest he should have a sound blow on his neck from 
the Bag of Sand, which instantly swang round from the other end of the Quintin. The great de- 
sign of this sport, was to try the agility of the Horse and Man, and to break the board, which, 
whoever did, he was accounted chief of the day's Sport. It stands opposite the dwelling house of 
the Estate, which is bound to keep it up." The same author, Ibid. p. 639. speaking of Bobbing 
pariah, says : " there was formerly a Quintin in this parish, there being still a Field in it, called 
from thence the Quintin-Fidd." 

Owen, in his Welsh Dictionary, v. Cwintan, describes a Hymeneal Game thus acted : " A Pole is 
iixt in the Ground, with sticks set about it, which the Bridegroom and his Company take up, and try 
their strength and activity in breaking them upon the Pole." 

For an account of the QUINTAIN as a more general Sport, see vol. i. p. 301. 


performed without consulting the Druidess and her Purin : - 
' Auspices solebant nuptiis interesse.' 

Juvenal. Sat. xii.a" 

In the North, and perhaps all over England, as has been already noticed, 
Slices of the Bride-Cake are thrice, some say nine times, put through the Wed- 
ding Ring, which are afterwards by young persons laid under their Pillows when 
they go to bed, for the purpose of making them dream of their Lovers ; or of 
exciting prophetic Dreams of Love and Marriage b . 

a Vallancey adds : " This is now played as a Game by the youths of both Sexes in Ireland. The 
Irish Seic Seona (Shec Shona) was readily turned into Jack Stones ; by an English ear, by which 
name this Game is now known by the English in Ireland. It has another name among the Vul- 
gar, viz. Gobstones." 

Pliny in the tenth Book, chap. viii. of his Natural History, mentions that in his time the Circos, 
a sort of lame Hawk, was accounted a lucky Omen at Weddings. 

b Thus Humphry Clinker, vol. iii. p. 265. edit. 1771. " A Cake being broken over the head of 
Mrs. Tabitha Lismahago, the Fragments were distributed among the Bystanders, according to the 
Custom of the antient Britons, on the supposition that every person who ate of this hallowed 
Cake, should that Night have a Vision of the Man or Woman whom Heaven designed should be 
his or her wedded mate." 

So, the Spectator : " The Writer resolved to try his Fortune, fasted all Day, and that he might 
be sure of dreaming upon something, at night, procured an handsome Slice of Bride Cake, which 
he placed very conveniently under his pillow." 

The Connoisseur, also, notices the practice, No. 56. " Cousin Debby was married a little while 
ago, and she sent me a piece of Bride-Cake to put under my pillow, and I had the sweetest dream : 
I thought we were going to be married together." 
The following occurs in " The Progress of Matrimony," 1733, p. 30. 
" But, Madam, as a Present take 
This little Paper of Bride-Cake : 
Fast any Friday in the year, ~\ 

When Venus mounts the starry sphere, {. 
Thrust this at Night in pillowber, 
In morning slumber you will seem 
T' enjoy your Lover in a Dream." 

In the St. James's Chronicle, from April 16th to April 18th 1799, are the following Lines on 

" The Wedding Cake. 
" Enlivening scource of Hymeneal Mirth, 
All hail the blest Receipt that gave thee birth ! 
Tho' Flora culls the fairest of her bowers, 


For the Sun to shine upon the Bride was a good Omen c . 

It was formerly a Custom among the noble Germans at Weddings for the 
Bride, when she was conducted to the Bride Chamber, to take off her Shoe, 
and throw it among the bystanders, which every one strove to catch, and who- 
ever got it, thought it an Omen that they themselves would shortly be happily 
married d . 

And strews the path of Hymen with her flowers, 

Not half the raptures give her scatter'd sweets ; 

The Cake for kinder gratulation meets. 

The Bride-Maid's Eyes with sparkling glances beam, 

She views the Cake and greets the promis'd Dream. 

For, when endow'd with necromantic spell, 

She knows what wond'rous things the Cake will tell. 

When from the Altar comes the pensive Bride, 

With down-cast looks ; her partner at her side ; 

Soon from the ground these thoughtful looks arise, 

To meet the Cake that gayer thoughts supplies. 

With her own hand she charms each destin'd slice. 

And thro' the Ring repeats the trebled thrice. 

The hallow'd Ring infusing magick pow'r, 

Bids Hymen's Visions wait the Midnight hour ; 

The mystick treasure, plac'd beneath her head, 

Will tell the fair, if haply she may wed. 

These mysteries portentous, lie conceal'd, 

Till Morpheus calls and bids them stand reveal'd ; 

The future Husband that Night's Dream will bring, 

Whether a Parson, Soldier, Beggar, King, 

As partner of her Life the fair must take, 

Irrevocable Doom of Bridal Cake." 
c Thus Herrick's Hesperides : p. 252. 

" While that others do divine 

Blest is the Bride on whom the Sun doth shine." 

d Antiquitat. Convivial, fol. 229. There was an antient Superstition that for a Bride to have 
good Fortune it was necessary at her Marriage that she should enter the House under two drawn 
Swords placed in the manner of a St. Andrew's Cross. " Si Sponsa debet habere bonam fortunam, 
oportet quod in nuptiis ingrediatur Don mm sub duobus evaginatis Gladjjs positis ad modum Cru- 
cis S. Andreae." Delrio Disquisit. Magic, p. 494. from Beezius. 


In a Letter from Sir Dudley Carleton to Mr. Winwood, London, January, 1604, 
among other Notices relating to Marriages at Court in the Itei'gn of James the 
first, is the following : " At Night there was casting off the Bride's left Hose, 
and many other pretty Sorceries." 

Hutchinson, in his History of Durham, vol. i. p. 33. speaking of a Cross near the Ruins of the 
Church in Holy island, says : It is " now called the Petting Stone. Whenever a. Marriage is so- 
lemnized at the Church, after the Ceremony, the Bride is to step upon it ; and if she cannot stride 
to the end thereof, it is said the Marriage will prove unfortunate." The Etymology there given is 
too ridiculous to be remembered : it is called petting, lest the Bride should take pet with her 

Grose tells us of a vulgar Superstition that holds it unlucky to walk under a Ladder, as it may 
prevent your being married that year. 

Our Rustics retain to this Day many superstitious notions concerning the times of the year 
when it is accounted lucky or otherwise to marry. It has been remarked in the former Volume 
of this work that none are ever married on Childermas Day : for whatever cause, this is a black 
Day in the Calendar of impatient Lovers. See Aubrey's Miscell. edit. 1748. p. 5. Randle Holme, 
too, in his " Academy of Armory and Blazon," edit. 1688. fol. B. iii. cap. 3. p. 131. tells us : " Inno- 
cence Day on what Day of the week soever it lights upon, that Day of the week is by Astronomers 
taken to be a Cross Day all the year through." 

The following Proverb from Ray, marks another antient Conceit on this head : 

" Who marries between the Sickle and the Scythe, 
Will never thrive." 

We gather from the author of the Convivial Antiquities, that the Heathen Romans were not 
without their superstitions on this subject. The Month of May has been already noticed from Ovid's 
Fasti as a time which was considered particularly unlucky for the celebration of Marriage : 

" Tempus quoque Nuptiarum celebrandarum" (says Stuckius) certum a veteribus definitum et 
constitutum esse invenio. Concilii Ilerdensis, xxxiii. 9. 4. Et in Decreto Ivonis lib. 6. non oportet 
a Septuagesima usque in Octavam Paschffi, et tribus Hebdomadibus ante Festivitateui S. Joannis 
Baptistae, et ab adventu Domini usque post Epiphaniam, nuptias celebrare. Quod si factum fuerit, 
separentur." Antiquitat. Conviv. p. 72. See also the " Formula" in the Append, to Hcarne's Hist, 
and Antiq. of Glastonbury, p. 309. 

I find the following to our purpose, 

" De Tempore prohibiti Matrimonii. 

Conjugium Adventus tollit, sed Stella reducit, 

Mox Cineres stringunt, Lux pascha octava relaxat." 

In the Roman Calendar in my Library, so often quoted, several Days are marked as unfit for 


Grose tells us of a singular Superstition on this occasion : i. e. that if in a 
Family, the youngest Daughter should chance to be married before her elder 
Sisters, they must all dance at her Wedding without Shoes : this will counter- 
act their ill luck, and procure them Husbands. 

In a curious book entitled " A Boulster Lecture," 8vo. Lond. 1640. p. 280. 
mention occurs of an antient Custom, " when at any time a Couple were mar- 
ried, the scale of the Bridegroom's Shoe was to be laid upon the Bride's Head, 
implying with what subjection she should serve her Husband." 

There was an antient Superstition that the Bride was not to step over the 
Threshold in entering the Bridegroom's House, but was to be lifted over by her 
nearest Relations*. She was also to knit her Fillets to the Door-posts, and 
anoint the sides, to avert the mischievous fascinations of Witches f . Previous 
to this, too, she was to put on a yellow Veil e. 

marriages, "Nuptiae non fiunt," i. e. " Feb. 11. Jun. 2. Nov. 2. Decemb. 1." On the 16th of Sep- 
tember, it is noted, " Tobiae sacrum. Nuptiarum Ceremoniae a Nuptiis deductae, videlicet de Ense, 
de Pisce, de Pompa, et de Pedibus lavandis." On the 24th of January, the Vigil of St. Paul's Day, 
there is this singular restriction, " Viri cum Uxoribus non cubant." 

In a most curious old Almanack in my possession for the year 1559, by Lewes Vaughan, made 
for the merydian of Gloucestre, are noted as follow : " the tymes of Weddinges when it begynneth 
and endeth." "Jan. 14. Weding begin. Jan. 21. Weddinge goth out. April 3. Wedding be. 
April 29. Wedding goeth out. May 22. Wedding begyn." And in another Almanack for 1655, 
by Andrew Waterman, Mariner, we have pointed out to us, in the last page, the following Days 
as " good to marry, or contract a Wife, (for then Women will be fond and loving,) viz. 
January 2. 4. 11. 19. and 21. Feb. 1. 3. 10. 19. 21. March 3. 5. 12. 20. 23. April 2. 4. 12. 2O. 
and 22. May 2. 4. 12. 20. 23. June 1. 3. 1 1. 19. 21. July 1. 3. 12. 19. 21. 31. August 2. 11. 
18.20.30. Sept. 1. 9. 16. 18. 28. Octob. 1. 8. 15. 17. 27. 29. Nov. 5. 11. 13, 22. 25. Decemb. 
1. 8. 10. 19. 23. 29." 

In Sir John Sinclair's Account of Scotland, vol. xv. Svo. Edinb. 1795, p. 311. the Minister of the 
Parishes of South Ronaldsay and Bun-ay, two of the Orkney Islands, in his Statistical Account of 
the Character and Manners of the People, says : " No couple chuses to marry except with a grow- 
ing Moon, and some even wish for a flowing Tide." 

c See the " Pleasant Histoiy of the first Founders," &c. Svo. p. 57. 

1 " The Bryde anoynted the poostes of the Doores with Swyne's grease, because she thought by 
that meanes to dryve awaye all misfortune, whereof she had her name in Latin ' Uxor ab un- 
gendo'." Langley's Transl. of Polyd. Vergil, fol. 9. b. 

* See Herrick's Hesperides, in the Epithalamium on Sir Thomas Southwell and his Lady, p. 57: 


It was held unlucky, also, if the Bride did not weep bitterly on the Wedding 
Day h . 


A Species of Divination used at Weddings. 

Flinging the Stocking is thus mentioned in a curious little Book entitled " The 
West-Country Clothier undone by a Peacock," p. 65. " The Sack Posset must 
be eaten and the Stocking flung, to see who can first hit the Bridegroom on the 

" And now the yellow Vaile at last 

Over her fragrant Cheek is cast, 

> ' 


You, you, that be of her ncerest kin, 
Now o'er the threshold force her in. 
But to avert the worst, 
Let her her fillets first 
Knit to the Posts : this point 
Rememb'ring, to anoint 
The sides : for 'tis a charme 
Strong against future harme: 
And the evil deads, the which 
There was hidden by the Witch*." 

k Stephens, in his Character of " a plaine Countrey Bride," p. 358. says : ' ' She takes it by tra- 
dition from her Fellow-Gossips, that she must weepe shouresupon her Marriage Day: though by 
the vertue of mustard and onions, if she cannot naturally dissemble." 

* Mr. Pennant informs us that among the Highlanders, during the Marriage Ceremony, great care is taken 
that Dogs do not pass between the Couple to be married; and particular attention is paid to the leaving the 
Bridegroom's left Shoe without Buckle or Latehet, to prevent the secret influence of Witches on the nuptial 
Night. He adds, " This is an old opinion." Gesner says that Witches made use of Toads as a Charm, " ut 
vim coeundi, ni fallor, in viris tollerent." Gesner de Quad. Ovi. p. 78. 

Tying the Point was another fascination, Illustrations of which may be found in Reginald Scot's " Discourse 
concerning Devils and Spirits," p. 71. i " The Fifteen Comforts of Marriage," p. 225. and in the "British 
Apollo," vol. ii. Numb. 35. fol. Lond. 1709. 

In the old Play of " The Witch of Edmonton," 4to. 1658. young Banks says : " Ungirt, unbless'd, says the 
Proverb. But my Girdle shall serve a riding- Knit ; and a Fig for all the Witches in Christendom." 


Misson, in his Travels through England, tells us of this Custom, that the 
young Men took the Bride's Stocking, and the Girls those of the Bridegroom : 
each of whom, sitting at the foot of the Bed, threw the Stocking over their 
heads, endeavouring to make it fall upon that of the Bride, or her Spouse: if 
the Bridegroom's Stockings, thrown by the Girls a , fell upon the Bridegroom's 
head, it was a sign that they themselves would soon be married : and a similar 
prognostic was taken from the falling of the Bride's stocking, thrown by the 
young Men b . 

Throwing the Stocking has not been omitted in " The Collier's Wedding c ." 

a In the Fifteen Comforts of Marriage, p. 60. the Custom is represented a little different. 
" One of the young Ladies, instead of throwing the Stocking at the Bride, flings it full in the 
Bason," (which held the Sack Posset,) " and then it's time to take the Posset away ; which done, 
they last kiss round and so depart." 

b " Les Gardens prenncnt le Bus de 1'Epouse et les Filles ceux de 1'Epoux, les uns et les autres 
s'asseyent au pied du lit et chacun jette les Bas par dessus la Tete, tachant a les faire tomber sur 
celle des mariez : si les Bas de 1'Homme, jettez par la Fille, tombent sur la Tete du marie, c'est 
*igne qu'elle sera bientot marie elle meme ; et il en est ainsi du prognostic des Bas de la Femme 
jettez par les Garcons. Souvent ces jeunes Gens s'engagent ensemble sur le succes des Bas 
hereuaement tombez quoique cela ne soil regarde par eux memes que comme une badinage." 

So " Hymen," &c. 8vo. Lond. 1760. p. 174. "The Men take the Bride's Stockings, and the 
Women those of the Bridegroom: they then seat themselves at the bed's feet and throw the 
Stockings over their heads, and whenever any one hits the owner of them, it is looked upon as an 
Omen that the person will be married in a short time ; and though this Ceremony is looked upon 
as mere play and foolery, new Marriages are often occasioned by such accidents. Meantime the 
Posset is got ready and given to the married Couple. When they awake in the morning a Sack- 
Posset is also given them." 

" The Posset too of Sack was eaten, 

And Stocking thrown too, (all besweaten)." 

"Vereingetsrixa. p. 26. 
c " The Stockings thrown, the Company gone, 

And Tom and Jenny both alone." 

In "A Sing-Song on CJarinda's Wedding," in R. Fletcher's " Translations and Poems," 8vo. 
Lond. 1656. p. 230. is the following account of this Ceremony: 
" This clutter ore, Clarinda lay 
Half-bedded, like the peeping Day 

Behind Olimpus' Cap ; 
Whiles at her head each twitt'ring Girle 
The fatal Stocking quick did whirle 
To know the lucky hap." 


In the Evening of the Wedding Day, just before the Company retired, the 

So in " Folly in Print, or a Book of Rhymes," p. 121. in the Description of a Wedding we read : 

" But still the Stockings are to throw, 
Some threw too high, and some too low, 
There's none could hit the mark," &c. 

In the Progress of Matrimony, in four Cantos, Svo. 1733. p. 49. is another Description : (in The 
Palace Miscellany.) 

" Then come all the younger Folk in, 

With Ceremony throw the Stocking ; 

Backward, o'er head, in turn they toss'd it, 

Till in Sack-posset they had lost it. 

Th' intent of flinging thus the Hose, 

Is to hit him or her o' th' Nose : 

Who hits the mark, thus, o'er left shoulder, 

Must married be, ere twelve months older. 

Deucalion thus, and Pyrrha threw 

Behind them stones, whence Mankind grew !" 

Again, in the Poem entitled "The Country Wedding," in the Gent. Mag. for March 1735. 
vol. v. p. 158. 

" Bid the Lasses and Lads to the merry brown bowl, 
While Rashers of Bacon shall smoke on the coal : 
Then Roger and Bridget, and Robin and Nan, 
Hit 'em each on the None, with the Hose if you can." 

In the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 17O8. vol. i. Numb. 42. we read : 

" Q. Apollo say, whence 'tis I pray, 

The antient Custom came, 
Stockings to throw, (I'm sure you know) 
At Bridegroom and his Dame. 

" A. When Brilons bold, bedded of old, 
Sandals were backward thrown ; 
The pair to tell, that, ill or well, 
The act was ;ill their own." 


Sack-Posset was eaten*. Of this Ppsset the Bride and Bridegroom were 
always to taste first. 

Allan Ramsay, in his Poems, 4to. Edinb. 1721. p. 116. introduces this Custom: 
" The Bride was now laid in her Bed, 

Her left leg Ho was flung ; 
And Geordy Gib was fidgen glad, 

Because it hit Jean Gun." 

In the British Apollo, before quoted, vol. iii. fol. Lond. 1711. Numb. 133. is the following Query : 
" Why is the Custom observed for the Bride to be placed in Bed next the left hand of her Hus- 
band, seeing it is a general use in England for Men to give their Wives the right hand when they 
walk together. A. Because it looks more modest for a Lady to accept the honour her Husband 
does her as an act of generosity at his hands, than to take it as her right, since the Bride goes to 
bed first." 

In " The Christen State of Matrimony, 1 ' 8vo. Lond. 1543. fol. 49. it is said : " As for Supper, 
loke how much shameles and dronken the evenynge is more then the mornynge, so much the 
more vyce, cxcesse, and mysnourtoure is used at the Supper. After Supper must they begynne to 
pype and daunce agayne of the new. And though the yonge personnes, beyng wery of the bab- 
lynge noyse and inconvenience, come once towarde theyr rest, yet canne they have no quietnes : 
for a man shall fynde unmannerly and restles people that wyll first go to theyr chambre dore, and 
there syng vicious and naughty Ballades, that the Dyvell maye have his whole tryumphe nowe to 
the uttermost." 

It appears to have been a waggish Custom at Weddings to hang a Bell under the party's bed. 
See Fletcher's Night Walker, act i. sc. 1 . 

" 11 oult une risee de jeunes homines qui s'etoient expres cachez aupres de son Lit, comme on a 
coutume dc faire en pareilles occasions." Contes d'Ouville, torn. i. p. 3. 

a The Custom of eating a Posset at going to Bed seems to have prevailed generally among our 
ancestors. The Tobacconist, in " The Wandering Jew telling Fortunes to English Men," 4to. 
Lond. 10-10. p. 20. says : " And at my going to bed, this is my Posset.'" Skinner derives the word 
from the French poser, residere, to settle; because, when the milk breaks, the cheesy parts, 
being heavier, subside. " Nobis proprie designat Lac calidum infuso vino cerevisia, &c. coagu- 
latum." See Junii Etymol. in verbo. 

Herrick has not overlooked the Posset in his Hesperides, p. 253. 
" What short sweet Prayers shall be said ; 
And how the Po=set shall be made 
With Cream of Lillies (not of Kine) 
And Maidens-blush for spiced Wine." 

Nor is it omitted in the Collier's Wedding : 

" Now some prepare t' undress the Bride, 
While others tame thi: Posset's pride." 


I find this called the Benediction Posset b . 

A singular instance of tantalizing, however incredible it may seem, was most 

It is mentioned too among the bridal Rites in the " West Country Clothier" before cited, where we 
are told " the Sack-Posset must be eaten." 

In " The Fifteen Comforts of Marriage," p. 60. it is called " an antient Custom of the English 
Matrons, who believe that Sack will make a Man lusty, and Sugar will make him kind." 

Among the Anglo-Saxons, as Strutt informs us, in his Manners and Customs, vol. i. p. 77. " at 
night the Bride was by the Women attendants placed in the Marriage-Bed *, and the Bridegroom 
in the same manner conducted by the Men, where having both, with all who were present, drank 
the Marriage health, the Company retired. 

In the old Song of Arthur of Bradley, we read : 

" And then they did foot it, and toss it, 
Till the Cook had brought up the Posset,, 
The Bride-pye was brought forth, 
A thing of mickle worth. 
And so all, at the Bed-side, 
Took leave of Arthur and his Bride." 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 352. says : " The Posset is a kind of 
Cawdle, a potion made up of Milk, Wine, Yolks of Eggs, Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, &c." He 
adds, p. 354. " They never fail to bring them another Sack-Posset next morning." 

k It is so called by Smollet in his Humphrey Clinker, vol. finem. edit. 1771. P-2G5. as also 
hinted at by Herrick in his Hesperides, p. 132. 

" If needs we must for Ceremonies sake 
Blesse a Sacke-Posset : luck go with it, take 
The night charm quickly : you have spells 
And magicks for to end." 

In the papal Times no new married Couple could go to bed together till the bridal Bed had 
been blessed. In a Manuscript entitled, " Historical Passages concerning the Clergy in the Papal 
times," cited in the History of Shrewsbury, 4to. 1779. p. 92. it is stated that " the Pride of the 
Clergy and the Bigotry of the Laity were such that new married Couples were made to wait till 

Misson, in his Travels, p. 352,'says : " The Bride Maids carry the Bride into the Bed-chamber, where they 
undress her, and lay her in the Bed. They must throw away and lose all the Pins. Woe be to the Bride if a 
single one is left about her; nothing will go right. Woe also te the Bride-Maids if they keep one of them, for 
they will not be married before Whitsontide." Or as we read in " Hymen," &c. 8vo. Loud. 1760. p. 173. " till 
the Easter following at soonest." 

I here take the opportunity of making a trifling addition to what has been before said on Marriage Sermons. 
I have one with this quaint title : " A Wedding Ring fit for the Finger, or the Salve of Divinity on the Sore of 
Humanity, laid open in a Sermon at a Wedding in Edmonton, by William Seeker, Preacher of the Gospel," 
8vo. Lond. 1661. 


certainly practised by our ancestors on this festive occasion, i. e. sewing up the 
Bride in. one of the Sheets c . 


" Among the Anglo-Saxons," as we gather from Strutt, vol. i. p. 77. after the 
Marriage, '' next Morning the whole Company came into the Chamber of the 
new married Couple, before they arose, to hear the Husband declare the Morn- 
ing's Gift, when his Relations became Sureties to the Wife's Relations lor the 
performance of such promises as were made by the Husband." This was the 
antiunt Pin-Money, and became the separate property of the Wife alone. 

Owen, in his Welsh Dictionary, voce COWYLL, explains that Word as signify- 
ing a Garment or Cloke with a Veil, presented by the Husband to his Bride on 
the Morning after Marriage* : and, in a wider sense the settlement he has made 

Midnight, after the Marriage Day, before they would pronounce a Benediction, unless hand- 
somely paid for it, and they durst not undress without it, on pain of excommunication.'' 

The Romish Rituals give the Form of blessing the Nuptial Bed. We learn from " Articles or- 
dained by King Henry the Vllth. for the regulation of his Household, published by the Society of 
Antiquaries, that this Ceremony was observed at the Marriage of a Princess. "All Men at her 
comming in to be voided, except Woemen, till she be brought toherBedd : and the Man, both : he 
sitting in his Bedd, in his Shirte, with a Gowne cast about him. Then the Bishoppe with the 
Chapliiines to come in and blesse the Bedd : then every Man to avoide without any Drinke, save 
the iwoe Estates, if they lisle priviely." 

See also the Appendix to Hearne's Hist, and Antiq. of Glastonbury, p. 309. and St. Foix. Essais 
sur Paris. 

c Herrick in his Hesperides, in the Nuptial Song on Sir Clipesby Crew and his Lady, ut supra, is 
express to this purpose, as a then prevailing Custom : 

" But since it must be done, dispatch and sowe 
Up in a Sheet your Bride, and what if so, &c." 

It is mentioned too in the Account of the Marriage Ceremonial of Sir Philip Herbert and the 
Lady Susan, performed at Whitehall in the time of James J. before cited: "At night there was 
sewing into the Sheet." 

The Mercheta Mulierum has been discredited by an eminent Antiquary. It was said that Eu- 
genius the third, King of Scotland, did wickedly ordain that the Lord or Master should have the 
first night's lodging with every Woman married to his Tenant or Bondman : which Ordinance was 


on her of goods and chattels adequate to her rank. In more modern times 
there is a Custom similar to this in Prussia. There the Husband may (is 
obliged if he has found her a Virgin) present to his Bride the Morgengabe 
or Gift on the Morning after Marriage, even though he should have married a 

The Custom of awaking a Couple the Morning after the Marriage with a Con- 
cert of Music is of old standing. 

In the Letter from Sir Dudley Carleton to Mr. Winwood describing the 
Nuptials of the Lady Susan with Sir Philip Herbert, it is stated that " they were 
lodged in the Council Chamber, where the King gave them a Reveille 
Matin before they were up." 

Of such a Reveille Matin, as used on the Marriages of respectable Merchants 
of London in his time, Hogarth has left us a curious representation in one of 
his Prints of the Idle and Industrious Apprentice 11 . 

afterwards abrogated by King Malcome the third, who ordained that the Bridegroom should have 
the sole use of his own Wife, and therefore should pay to the Lord a piece of money called Marca. 
Hcct. Boet. l.iii. c. 12. Spotsw. Hist, fol.29. 

One cannot help observing on the above, that they must have been Bond-men, or (in the antient 
sense of the word) Villains indeed, who could have submitted to so singular a species of 

I found the subsequent clause in a curious MS. in the Cotton Library, Vitell. E. 5. entitled 
"Excerpta ex quodam antiquo Registro Prioris de Tynemouth, remanente apud Comitem Nor- 
thumbriee de Baroniis et Feodis : 

Rentale de Tynemuth, factum A. D. 1378. 

" Omnes Tenentes de Tynemouth, cum contigerit, solvent Layrewite Filiabus vel Ancillis suis et 
etiam Merchet pro filiabus suis maritandis." 

b So, in the " Comforts of Wooing, &c." p. 62. " Next morning, come the Fidlers and scrape 
him a wicked Reveillez. The Drums rattle, the Shaumes tote, the Trumpets sound tan ta ra rara, 
and the whole Street rings with the benedictions and good wishes of Fidlers, Drummers, Pipers, 
and Trumpet ters. You may safely say now the Wedding's proclaimed." 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 352. speaking of the Reveillez 
on the Morning after a Wedding, says : " If the Drums and Fiddles have notice of it, they 
will be sure to be with them by Day-break, making a horrible racket, till they have got the 

Gay, in his Trivia, has censured the use of the Drum in this Concert : 



A Custom formerly prevailed, and has indeed been recently observed, at 
Dunmow in Essex, of giving a Flitch of Bacon to any married Man or Woman, 
who would swear that neither of them, in a Year and a Day, either sleeping- 
or waking, repented of their Marriage. The singular Oath administered to 
them ran thus : 

" You shall swear by Custom of Confession, 

If ever you made nuptial transgression, 

Be you either married Man or Wife, 

If you have Brawls or contentious Strife ; 

Or otherwise, at Bed or at Board, 

Offended each other in Deed or Word : 

" Here Rows of Drummers stand in martial file, 
And with their vellom thunder shake the pile, 
To greet the new-made Bride. Are sounds like these 
The proper prelude to a state of Peace ?" 

The custom of Creeling, on the second Day after Marriage, has been already noticed in p. 30. 
from Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland. Allan Ramsay, in his " Poems," 4to. 
Edinb. 1721. p. 125. mentions this Custom as having been practised the Day after Marriage. He 
adds, " 'Tis a Custom for the Friends to endeavour the next Day. after the Wedding to make the 
new married Man as drunk as possible." 

" In North Wales," says Mr. Pennant's Manuscript, " on the Sunday after Marriage, the Company 
who were at it, come to Church, i. e. the Friends and Relations of the Party make the most splen- 
did appearance, disturb the Church, and strive who shall place the Bride and Groom in the most 
honourable Seat. After Service is over, the Men, with Fidlers before them, go into all the Ale- 
houses in the Town." 

In the Monthly Magazine for 1798. p. 417. we read : " It is customary, in Country Churches, 
when a Couple has been newly married, for the Singers to chaunt, on the following Sunday, a par- 
ticular Psalm, thence called the Wedding Psalm, in which are these words, ' Oh well is thee, and 
happy shalt thou be'." 


Or, since the Parish- Clerk said Amen, 

You wish'd yourselves unmarried agen, 

Or in a Twelve month and a Day, 

Repented not in thought any way, 

But continued true in thought and desire 

As when you joined hands in the Quire. 

If to these Conditions, without all feare 

Of your own accord you will freely sweare, 

A whole Gammon of Bacon you shall receive, 

And bear it hence with love and good leave : 

For this is our Custom at Dunmow well knowne, 

Though the pleasure be our's, the Bacon's your own." 

The Parties were to take this Oath before the Prior and Convent and the 
whole Town, humbly kneeling in the Churchyard upon two hard pointed Stones, 
which still are shewn. They were afterwards taken upon Men's shoulders, 
and carried, first, about the Priory Churchyard, and after, through the Town, 
with all the Friars and Brethren, and all the Townsfolk, young and old, follow- 
ing them with shouts and acclamations, with their Bacon before them a . 

a * 

Blount's Jocular Tenures, by Beckwith, Svo. York, 1784. p. 296. A Writer in the Gent. Mag. 
for 1751. vol. xxi. p. 248. attributes the origin of this ceremony to an antient institution of the 
Lord Fitzwalter, in the reign of King Henry the third, who ordered that " whatever married man 
did not repent of his marriage, or quarrel with his wife in a year and a day after it, should go to 
his Priory, and demand the bacon, on his swearing to the truth, kneeling on two stones in the 
Church-yard." The form and ceremony of the claim, as made in 1701, by William Parsley of Much 
Easton in the County of Essex, butcher, and Jane his wife, is detailed in the same page. 

I have a large Print, now become exceedingly rare, entitled, " An exact perspective View of Dun- 
mow, late the Priory in the County of Essex, with a representation of the Ceremony and Proces- 
sion in that Manner, on Thursday the 20th of June, 1751, when Thomas Shapeshaft of the Parish 
of Weathersfield in the County aforesaid, Weaver *, and Ann his Wife, came to demand, and did 
actually receive a Gammon of Bacon, having first kneeled down upon two bare stones within the 
Church Door and taken the Oath, &c. N. B. Before the Dissolution of Monasteries it does not 
appear, by searching the most antient Records, to have been demanded above three times, and, in- 
cluding this, just as often since. 

" Taken on the spot and engraved by David Ogborne." 

The Gent. Mag. vol. xxi. p. 282. calls him " John Shakeshanks, wool-comber.' 1 


[Dugdale, from whom Blount seems to have obtained the greater part of his 
information on the Dunmovv Bacon, gives the Oath in prose from the Collections 
of Sir Richard St. George, Garter, about 1640. 

He adds, that " in the Book belonging to the House," he had found the Me- 
moranda of three claims prior to the Dissolution. The first is in the seventh 
year of King Edward the fourth, when a Gammon of Bacon was delivered to 
one Steven Samuel of Little Ayston ; the second, in the twenty third year of 
King Henry the sixth, when a Flitch was delivered to Richard Wright of Bad- 
bourge near the City of Norwich ; and the third, in 1510, the second year of 
King Henry the eighth, when a Gammon was delivered to Thomas Ley, fuller, of 
Coggeshall in Essex b .] 

The Uunmow Bacon is alluded to in the Visions of Pierce Plowman, and in 
Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Prologue. A similar Custom prevailed at Whichnovre 
in Staffordshire . 

* Dugd. Mon. Angl. torn. ii. p. 70. See also Morant's Hist, of Essex, vol. ii. p. 429. 

c [This appears to have been in conformity to an antient Tenure, and was certainly as old as the 
tenth Year of King Edward the third, when the Manor was held by Sir Philip de Somerville. 

The Oath, as appears by the following Copy, was less strict than that at Dunmow : it was taken 
on a Book laid above the Bacon : 

" Here ye, Sir Philippe de Somervile, Lord of VVhichenovre, maynteyner and gyver of this 
Baconne ; that I A. sithe I wedded B. my wife, and sythe I hadd hyr in ray kepyng, and at my 
wylle by a yere and a day, after our Mariage, I wold not have chaunged for none other, farer ne 
fowler, rycher ne pourer, ne for none other descended of greater lynage, slepyng ne waking, at 
noo tyme. And yf the seyd B. were sole, and I sole, I would take her to be my Wyfe, before all the 
Wymen of the worlde, of what condiciones soever they be, good or evylle, as helpe me God ond 
hys Seyntys ; and this flesh and all fleshes." 

It is observable that this Whichenovre Flitch was to be hanging in the Hall of the Manor 
" redy arrayede all times of the yere, bott in Lent." It was to be given to every man or woman 
married, " after the day and the yere of their marriage be passed : and to be gyven to everyche 
mane of Religion, Archbishop, Bishop, Prior, or other religious, and to everyche Freest, after 
the year and day of their profession finished, or of their dignity reseyved," See Plott's Hist, of 
Staffordshire, p. 440.] 



or are 


" Si quando sacra jura tori violaverit Uxor, 
Cur gerit immeritus Cornua Vir ? Caput est." 

Owen. Epigr. 

" It is said, Many a man knows no end of his goods : right : many a man has good horns, and 
knows no end of them. Well, that is the dowry of his Wife ; 'tis none of his own getting. Horns ? 
Even so : Poor men alone ? No, no 5 the noblest Deer hath them as huge as the rascal." 

As you Like It. Act iii. sc. 3. 

UNDER the head of Marriage Customs naturally falls the consideration of 
the vulgar saying that " a Husband wears Horns" or is a Cornute, when his 
Wife proves false to him ; as also that of the meaning of the word " Cuckold," 
which has for many ages been the popular indication of the same kind of In- 
famy, which also it has been usual slily to hint at by throwing out the little and 
fore finger when we point at such as we tacitly call Cuckolds*. 

a In the " Disputation between a Hee Conny-Catcher and a Shee Conny-Catcher," 4to. of the 
time of jQueen Elizabeth, Sign. E. 2. is the following witticism on this head: " Hee that was hit 
with the Horne was pint-lit at the heart." Also Sign. E. 3. ibid. " Let him dub her husband Knight 
of the forked Order" 

So Othello-: " O curse of Marriage ! 

"Tis Destiny, unshunnable like Death. 
Even then this forked plague is feted to us, 
When we do quicken." Act. iii. sc. 3. 

In one of Ge~orge Houfnagle's Views in Spain (Seville) dated 1593. is a curious Representation 
ef " Riding the Stang," or " Skimmington," as then practised in that country. The patient 
Cuckold rides on a Mule, hand-shackled, and having on an amazing large pair of Antlers, which 
are twisted about with Herbs, have four little Flags at the top, and three Bells. The Vixen rides 
on another Mule, and seems to be belabouring her Husband with a crabbed stick : her face is 
entirely covered with her long Hair. Behind her, on foot, follows a Trumpeter, holding in his 
left hand a Trumpet, and in his right a Bastinado, or large Strap, seemingly of Leather, with 
which he beats her as they go along. The Passengers, or Spectators, are each holding up at them 
two fingers like Snail's horns. In the Reference this Procession is stiled, in Spanish " Execution 
de Justitia de los Cornudos patientes." 


It is well known that the word Horn in the Sacred Writings denotes fortitude 

This punishment, however, seems only to have been inflicted on those, who, availing themselves 
of the beauty of their Wives, made a profit of their prostitution. See Colmenar's " Delices de 
1'Espagne et du Portugal," where speaking of the Manners of the Spaniards, torn. v. p. 839. he 
says : " Lorsqu'un homme surprend sa fenune en adulteie, il peut la tuer avec son corrupteur, et 
1'impunite lui est assuree. Mais si sachant que sa femme lui fait porter les Comes, il le soufre pour 
en tirer quelque profit, lorsque on vient a le decouvrir, on le saisit lui et sa femme, on les met cha- 
cun a chevauchon sur un Ane, on lui attache a la tete une belle grande p;iire cle Cornes, avec des 
Sonnettes, en cet ^tat on 1'expose en montre au peuple. La Femme est obligee de fouetter son mari, 
et elle est fnuettee en meme temps par le bourreau." This Account is al.-io accompanied by a Print. 

In " The English Fortune Teller," 4to. Lond, 1609. Sign. F. the author, speaking of a Wanton's 
Husband, says : " He is the wanton Wenches game amongst themselves, and Wagge's sport to 
poynt at with two fingers." 

Bulwcr, in his " Chirologia," 8vo. Lond. 1644. p. 181. says : " To present the Index and Eare- 
finger (i. e. the fore and little finger) wagging, with the Thumb applied unto the Temples is their 
expression who would scornfully reprove any. The same Gesture, if you take away the motion, is 
used, in our nimble-fingered times, to call one Cuckold, and to present the Badge of Cuc/coldry, 
that mentall and imaginary Horn; seeming to cry, ' O man of happy note, whom Fortune mean- 
ing highly to promote, hath stucke on thy forehead the earnest penny of succeeding good lucke." 

The following passage occurs in a curious publication, entitled, " The Home exalted," 8vo. 
Lond. 1661. p. 37. " Horns are signified by the throwing out thelittle and fore-finger when we point 
at such whom we tacitly called Cuckolds." 

In the famous print of " a Skimmington," engraved by Hogarth for Hudibras, we observe a 
Tailor's wife employed in this manner to denote her own, but, as she thinks, her Husband's infamy. 

Winstanley, in his " Historical Rarities," &c. p. 7G. says : " The Italians, when they intend to 
scoff or disgrace one, use to put their Thumb between two of their Fingers, and ?ay ' Ecco, la 
fico ;' which is counted a Disgrace answerable to our English Custom of making Horns to the 
Man whom we suspect to be a Cuckold." He goes on thus to account for it. " In the time of 
the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, anno 1161, Beatrix, the Emperor's Wife, coming to see the 
City of Millain in Italy, was by the irreverent people, first imprisoned and then most barbarously 
handled ; for they placed her on a Mule, with her face towards the Tail, which she was compelled to 
use instead of a bridle: and when they had thus shewn her to all the Town, they brought her to 
a Gate, and kicked her out. To avenge this wrong, the Emperor besieged and forced the Town, 
and adjudged all the people to die, save such as would undergo this Ransome. Between the But- 
tocks of a skittish Mule a bunch of Figs was fastened ; and such as would live must, with their hands 
bound behind, run after the Mule, till, with their Teeth, they had snatched out one or more of 
the Figs. This Condition, besides the hazard of many a sound kick, was, by most, accepted and 

Greene, in Iris "Conceipt," 4to. Lond. 1598. p. 33. uses this expression of a Cornute: " but 


and Vigour of Mind b ; and that in the Classics, personal Courage (metaphori- 
cally from the pushing of horned Animals) is intimated by Horns c . 

Whence then are we to deduce a very antient Custom which has prevailed 
almost universally of saying that the unhappy Husbands of false Women wear 
Horns, or are Cornutes? it may be said almost universally, for, we are told that 
even among the Indians it was the highest indignity that could be offered them 
even to point at a Horn d . 

There is a singular passage upon this subject in Nicolson and Burn's History 
of Westmoreland and Cumberland, vol. i. p. 540. which I shall give, and leave 
too, without comment, as I find it. They are speaking of the Monument of 
Thomas the first Lord Wharton, in the Church of Kirby Stephen in Westmore- 
land, the Crest of whose Arms was a Bull's Head : 

" The Consideration of Horns, generally used upon the Crest, seemeth to 
account for what hath hitherto by no author or other person ever been accounted 
for; namely the connexion betwixt Horns and Cuckolds. The notion of Cuck- 
olds wearing Horns prevails through all the modern European Languages, and 
is of four or five hundred years standing. The particular estimation of Badges 
and distinction of Arms began in the time of the Crusades, being then more 
especially necessary to distinguish the several Nations of which the Armies were 
composed. Horns upon the Crest, according to that of Silius Italicus, 
" Casside cornigera dependens Insula." 

were erected in terrorem : and after the Husband had been absent three or four 
years, and came home in his regimental accoutrements, it might be no impos- 
sible supposition that the Man who wore the Horns was a Cuckold. And this 
accounts, also, why no author at that time, when the droll notion was started, 
hath ventured to explain the Connexion: for, woe be to the Man in those days 

certainely, beleeved, that Giraldo his master was as soundly armde for the heade, as either Oapri- 
corne, or the stoutest horned signe in the Zodiacke." 

b "His Horn shall be exalted." " The Horn of my Salvation." &o. &c. 

c " Namque in malos asperrimus 

Parata tollo Cornua." Horat. Epod. 

"Jam feror in pugnas & nondum Cornua sumpsi." Ovid, de Ebrietate. 

d In Spain it is a crime as much punishable by the Laws to put up Horns against a Neighbour's 
House, as to have written a Hbel against him* > w> 


that should have made a joke of the Holy War; which, indeed, in consideration 
of the expence of blood and treasure attending it, was a very serious affair." 

There is a great parade of Learning on the subject of this ver\ serious Jest in 
a foreign Work in Latin, printed at Brussels in 1661. in folio, and entitled, " The 
Paradise of Pleasant Questions 6 ." 

The various Opinions of the learned are given in this curious Collection : 
but I much doubt if any of them will be thought satisfactory. 

In one of them "Cornutus" is most forcibly derived from nudus and corde, 
as meaning a pitiful Fellow, such an one as he must needs be who can sit tamely 
down under so great an Injury. Such kind of Etymology merits no serious 
confutation f . 

In another, Ccelius Rhodogirius is introduced as wishing to derive it from an 
insensibility peculiar, as he says, to the He-goats, who will stand looking on 
while another is possessing his female. As Writers on Natural History do not 
admit the truth of the assertion, this too will, of course, fall to the ground h . 

Another conjecture is, that some mean Husbands, availing themselves of then- 
Wives' Beauty, have turned it to account by prostituting them, obtaining by this 
means the Horn of' Amalthea, the Cornu Copied' 1 , which by licentious Wits 
has since been called in the language of modern gallantry, tipping the Horns 
with Gold. 

The fact is too notorious to be doubted ; but as this only accounts for a single 
Horn, perhaps sve must lay no great stress upon the probability of this surmise. 

Elysius jucundarum Quaestionum Campus." fol. Bruxelte. 1661. 

f An Interpretation of a grosser kind occurs in "The Resolver or Curiosities of Nature.," 12mo. 
Lond. 1635. p. 111. 

* " A ducenda Uxore valde abhorreo, quia Gentem barbatulam, hircosamque progeniem pertre- 
misco." p. 614. 

h In the " Blazon of Jealousie," 4to. Lond. 1615. p. 57. we are told a very different story of a 
Swan. " The Tale of the SWANNE about Windsor, finding a strange Cocke with his mate, and 
how far he swam after the other to kill it, and then, returning backe, slew his Hen also, (this 
being a certain truth, and not many yeers done upon this our Thames) is so well knowne to 
many Gentlemen, and to most Watermen of this River, as it were needlesse to use any more words 
about the same." 

1 " Pauper erat, fieri vult Dives, quaerit et unde, 

Fendidit Vxorem Neenius, emit Agrum." Martial. Epigram. 


Pancirollus, on the other hand, derives it from a Custom of the debauched 
mperor Andronicus, who used to hang up in a frolic, in the porticos of the 
Forum, the Stag's Horns he had taken in hunting, intending, as he says, by this 
new kind of insignia, to denote at once the manners of the City, the lascivious- 
ness of the Wives he had debauched, and the size of the Animals he had made 
his prey, and that from hence the sarcasm spread abroad that the Husband of 
an adulterous Wife bare Horns k . 

I cannot satisfy myself with this Account, for what Andronicus did seems to 
have been only a continuation, not the origin of this Custom 1 . 

k In Shakspeare's Titus Andronicus, Act ii. sc. 3. the following occurs : 
" Under your patience, gentle emperess, 
Tis thought you have a goodly gift in horning. 
Jove shield your husband from his hounds to-day ! 
'Tis pity, they should take him for a Stag;" 

1 The following is extracted from the Gentleman's Magazine for December 1786. p. 1020. 
" The Woman who is felse to her Husband is said to plant Horns on his Head. I know not 
how far back the Idea of giving his head this ornament may be traced, but it may be met with 
in Artemidorus, (Lib. ii.) and I believe we must have recourse to a Greek Epigram for an 
Illustration : 

Or>5 UTOI tavfoos jtalaXa/i^ansi oux ropa&>v, 
KHVOV ApaxOsjas u' yvvn tn xsp;. Antholog. Lib. ii. 

Shakspeare and Ben Jonson seem both to have considered the Horns in this Light : 
" Well, he may sleep in security, for he hath the Horn of Abundance, and the lightness of his 
Wife shines through it : and yet he cannot see, though he has his own Lanthorn to light him." 

Second Part of K. Hen. iv. A. i. sc. 4. 

" What ! never sigh, 

Be of good cheer man, for them art a Cuckold. 
Tis done, 'tis done ! nay, when such flowing store, 
Plenty itself, falls in my wife's lap, 
The Cornu Copiae will be mine, I know." 

" Every Man in his Humour," A. iii. sc. 6. 

Srtevens (see Reed's Edition of Shakspeare, vol.xii. p. 29.) on the above passage in the Second 
Part of Henry IVth has these additions : 
" So in Pasquil's Night-Cap, 1612. p. 43. 

But chiefly Citizens, upon whose Crowne, 
Fortune her blessings most did tumble downe ; 
And in whose Eares (as all the World doth know) 
The florae of great aboupdanee still doth blow." 


In a singular Book, already quoted in a Note, entitled, " The Home exalted,'' 
c. 8vo. Lond. 1661. I find several Conjectures on the subject, but such light 
and superficial ones as I think ought not to be much depended upon. 

One of them derives the Etymology from Bulla : asserting that such Hus- 
bands as regarded not their Wives were called Bulls, because it is said that that 
Animal, when satiated with his females, will not even feed with them, but re- 
moves as far off as he can. Hence the Woman in Aristophanes, complaining of 
the absence and slights of her Husband, says : 

"Must I in House without Bull stay alone ?" 

On which account those Husbands have been called Bulls, who by abandon- 
ing their Wives, occasioned their proving unchaste, and consequently were 
mocked with Horns. 

By another the word Horns or Cornuto, is thought to have been taken from 

" The Lightness of his Wife shines through it ; and yet cannot he see though he have his own 
Lantern to light him." Shaksp. This joke seems evidently to have been taken from that of Plautus j 
Quo ambulas tu, qui Vulcanum in Cornu conclusum geris :' Amph. Act i. sc. i. and much improved. 
We need not doubt that a Joke was here intended by Plautus ; for the proverbial term of Horns 
for Cuckoldom is very antient, as appears by Artemidorus, who says : Tlfsinrirv awru or< ' yn>' <rm 
s-ofvfi/'o-fi, KX\ TO ?,E"/^;5v, xifaro, aurai ToiiiVft, xai GVTU; cLwiSri" Ovsipoi. Lib. ii. cap. 12. And he copied 
from those before him. 

"The same thought occurs in " The Two Maids of Moreclacke," IGOfi. 

" Your wrongs 

Shine through the Horn, as Candles in the Eve, 
To light out others." 

Armstrong, in his History of the Island of Minorca, 8vo. Lond. 175G, 2d edit. p. 170. says, the 
inhabitants bear hatred to the sight and name of a Horn : " for they never mention it but in anger, 
and then they curse with it, saying Cuerno, as they would Diablo." 

m See "The Home exalted," p. 12. The following conjectures on this subject occur in one of 
Campian's Epigrams : 

"In Cornutos. 
" Uxoris culpa immeriti cur fronte mariti 

Cornua gestari ludicra fama refert ? 
An quia terribilem furor irritus, atque malignum 

Efficit, armatis assimileraque feris ? 
An quod ad hanc faciem Satyros, Umbrasque nocentes 
Fingimus, atque ipsum Daemona cornigerum ? 


the injured and angry Moon, which is all one with Venus, from whence 

Another Conjecture, playing on the Italian word Beccho which signifies a 
Cuckold or Goat, derives it from Bacchus, whom Orpheus calls the God with 
two Horns. Thus Drunkenness causing Men, by neglecting them, to have 
wanton Wives, they are said to have Horns, to shew to the World the occasion 
of their shame; and that by tossing the Horn (meaning the drinking Horns) so 
much to their heads, they are said to have Horns, fixing them at last to their 


Another derives the word "Horns" from the Infamy, for which, as in other 
public matters they sound and blow Horns in the Streets, and supposes Horns 
are only a public opinion and scattering of this Infamy of the Husband about, 
as Proclamations are made known by sound of Trumpets". 

An quod apud populum tantum Fortuna nocentes 
Reddit, nee verum crimina nomen habent ?" 

Tho. Campiani Epigrammatum, Lib. ii. num. 132. 12mo. 

Lond. excud. E. Griffin, Anno Domini 1611). 

* There used formerly (and I believe it is still now and then retained) to be a kind of ignomi- 
nious procession in the North of England, called " Riding the Stang," when, as the Glossary to 
Douglas's Virgil informs ua, one is made to ride on a pole for his neighbour's wife's fault." 
" Staung Eboracensibus est Lignum ablongum. Contus bajulorum." Hickes. 
This custom bids fair not to be of much longer continuance in the North, for I find, by the 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne Courant for August 3d, 1793, that at the Assizes at Durham, in the pre- 
ceding week, " Thomas Jameson, Matthew Marrington, G*"O. Ball, Jos. Rowntree, Simon Em- 
merson, Robert Parkin, and Francis Wardell, for violently assaulting Nicholas Lowes, of Bishop 
Wearmouth, and carrying him mi a Stang, were sentenced to be imprisoned two years in Durham 
Gaol, and find sureties for their good behaviour for three years." The law taking such cognizance 
of the practice, it must of course terminate very shortly. 

The word Stang, says Ray, is still used in some colleges in Cambridge : to stang scholars in 
Christmas-time being to cause them to ride on a colt-staff, or pole, for missing chapel. It is de- 
rived from the Islandic Staung, hasta. 

It appears from Allan Ramsay's Poems, 4to. Edinb. 1721, p. 128, that riding the Stang was 
used in Scotland. A Note says : " The riding of the Stang on a woman that hath beat her hus- 
band is-, as 1 have described it, by ones riding upon a sting, or a long piece of wood, carried by 
two others on their shoulders, where, like a herauld, he proclaims the woman's name, and thft 
manner of her unnatural action : 


There is lastly a Conjecture that the beginning of Horns came from the 
Indians (it will be thought a far-fetched one) whose women had a Custom that 

" They frae a barn a kaber raught, 

Ane mounted wi' a bang, 
Betwisht twa's shoulders, and sat straught 
Upon't, and rade the Slang 

On her that day." 

[Cullender observes., says Dr. Jamieson in his Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, 
that, in the North, riding the Stang, "is a mark of the highest infamy." "The person," he 
subjoins, " who has been thus treated, seldom recovers his honour in the opinion of his neigh- 
bours. When they cannot lay hold of the culprit himself, they put some young fellow on the 
Slang, or pole, who proclaims that it is not on his own account that he is thus treated, but on 
that of another person, whom he names." Anc. Scot. Poems, p. 154, 155. 

" I am informed," Dr. Jamieson adds, " that in Lothian, and perhaps in other counties, the 
man who had debauched his neighbour's wife was formerly forced to ride the Stang." 

So, in It. Galloway's Poems, p. 12 : 

" On you fit ride the Stang" 

" Here," says Dr. Jamieson, " we have evidently the remains of a very ancient custom. The 
Goths were wont to erect what they called Nidstaeng, or the pole of Infamy, with the most dire 
imprecations against the person who was thought to deserve this punishment ; Isl. Nidstong. He 
who was subjected to this dishonour was called Nlding, to which the English word infamous most 
nearly corresponds ; for he could not make oath in any cause. The celebrated Islandic bard, 
Egill Skallagrim, having performed this tremendous ceremony at the expence of Eric Bloddox, 
King of Norway, who, as he supposed, had highly injured him, Eric soon after became hated 
by all, and was obliged to fly from his dominions, v. Ol. I>ex. Run. ro. NIJD. The form of im- 
precation is quoted by Callender, ut supra. 

"It may be added, that the custom of 'riding the Stang,' seems also to have been known in 
Scandinavia : for Scren gives stong-hesten as signifying the rod, or roddle-horse ; vo. ROD."] 

"To ride," or "riding Skimmington," is, according to Grose, a ludicrous cavalcade in ridi- 
cule of a man beaten by his wife : it consists of a man riding behind a woman with his face to the 
horse's tail, holding a distaff in his hand, at which he seems to work, the woman all the while 
beating him with a ladle : a smock displayed on a staff is carried before them, as an emblematical 
standard, denoting female superiority : they are accompanied by what is called rough musick, 
that is, frying-pans, bull's-horns, marrow-bones and cleavers, &c. a procession admirably de- 
scribed by Butler in his Hudibras : 

" First, he that led the Cavalcate 
Wore a sow-gelder's Flagellet : 


when any Lover presented his Mistress with an Elephant, the last favour might 
be granted him without prejudice to her name or honesty : that it even became 

Next Pans and Kettles of all keys, 
From trebles down to double base. 
And, after them, upon a nag, 
That might pass for a forehand stag, 
A CORNET rode, and on his staff 
A smock display'd did proudly wave : 
Then Bagpipes of the loudest drones, 
With snuffling broken-winded tones, 
Whose blasts of air, in pockets shut, 
Sound filthier than from the Gut, 
And make a viler noise than Swine 
In windy weather, when they whine. 
Next, one upon a pair of panniers, 
Full fraught with that, which, for good manners, 
Shall here be namesless, mixt with grains, 
Which he dispens'd among the swains. 
Then, mounted on a horned horse, 
One bore a Gauntlet and gilt spurs, 
Ty'd to the pummel of a long sword 
He held reverst, the point turn'd downward : 
Next after, on a raw-bon'd steed, 
The Conqueror's standard-bearer rid, 
And bore aloft before the champion 
A petticoat display'd, and rampant ; 
Near whom the Amazon triumphant 
Bestrid her beast, and on the rump on't 
Sate face to tayl, and bum to bum, 
ir t> The warrior whilom overcome ; 

Arm'd with a spindle and a distaff, 
Which, as he rode, she made him twist off: 
And, when he loiter'd, o'er her shoulder 
Chastiz'd the reformado soldier. 
Before the dame, and round about, 
March'd Whifflers, and Staflfiers on foot, 
With Lackies, Grooms, Valets, and Pages, 
In fit and proper equipages; 


matter of praise to her, not objected to even by her Husband, who preserved 

Of whom, some torches bore, some links, 

Before the proud virago minx, 

And, at fit periods, the whole rout 

Set up their throats with clamourous shout." 

In Bagford's Letter relating to the Antiquities of London, printed in the first volume of Le- 
land's Collectanea, p. Ixxvi. he says : " I might here mention the old custom of Skiminington, when 
a woman beats her husband, of which we have no memory but in Hudibras, altho' I have been 
told of an old Statute made for that purpose." Hogarth's print, which accompanies Butler's de- 
scription, is also called the Skimmington; though none of the commentators on Hudibras have 
attempted an elucidation of the ceremony. 

In "Hymen, &c. an Account of different Marriage Ceremonies," Svo. Lond. 1760, p. 177, is 
the following Account of a Skimmington. " There is another Custom in England, which is very 
extraordinary : a Woman carries something in the shape of a Man, crowned with a huge pair of 
Horns, a drum goes before and a vast crowd follows, making a strange music with Tongs, Grid- 
irons, and Kettles. This burlesque Ceremony was the invention of a Woman, who thereby vindi- 
cated the character of a Neighbour of hers, who had stoutly beaten her Husband for being so 
saucy as to accuse his Wife of being unfaithful to his bed. The Figure with Horns requires no 
explanation, it is obvious to every body that it represents the Husband." 

So Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 129. says : " I have sometimes met 
in the Streets of London a Woman carrying a Figure of Straw representing a Man, crown'd with 
very ample Horns, preceded by a Drum, and followed by a Mob, making a most grating noise 
with Tongs, Grid-irons, Frying-pans, and Sauce-pans. I asked what was the meaning of all this ; 
they told me that a Woman had given her Husband a sound beating, for accusing her of making 
him a Cuckold, and that upon such occasions some kind Neighbour of the poor innocent wjur'd 
Creature generally performed this Ceremony. 

A curious little Book, the property of Francis Douce, Esquire, lies before me. It is entitled 
" Divers Crab-tree Lectures that Shrews read to their Husbands, &c." 12mo. Lond. 1639 A 
wooden Cut facing the Frontispiece, representing a Woman beating her Husband with a Ladle, is 
called " Skimmington and her Husband." This Cut is repeated in a Chapter, entitled " Skimmin"- 
ton's Lecture to her Husband, which is the errand Scold," with some Verses wherein occur the fol- 
lowing pithy Lines : 

" But all shall not serve thee, 

For have at thy pate, 
My Ladle of the Crab-tree 

Shall teach thee to cogge and to prate." 

By the above it should seem to appear that the word " Skiminington" signifies an Errant Scold, 
and has most probably been derived from the name of some Woman of great notoriety in that 

CORNUTES. 1 1 1 

the Horns as the better part of the Elephant, in order to shew them to the 

line. Thus a "Sandwich/' the " little cold Collation," from the Earl of Sandwich, &c. Mr. Douce 
derives it from the Skimming-Ladle : and I find the following Account of its supposed origin in 
D. Bellamy's, Gordon's, and other Gentlemen's Dictionary, 2d edit. 8vo. Lond. printed for J. Fuller, 
(without date) : "SKIMMINGTON, a sort of burlesque procession in ridicule of a Man who suffers 
himself to be beat by his Wife. In Commerce, it is particularly used for the Membrane stripped 
off the Animal to be prepared by the Tanner, Skinner, Currier, Parchment-maker, &c. to be 
converted into Leather, &c." 

The following curious passage is taken from Dr. King's Miscellany Poems : see his Works, 1776, 
vol. iii. p. 256. 

" When the young people ride the Skimmington, 
There is a general trembling in a Town, 
Not only he for whom the person rides 
Suffers, but they sweep other doors besides ; 
And by that Hieroglyphic does appear 
That the good Woman is the Master there. 

It should seem from the above Lines that in this ludicrous Procession, intended to sjiame some 
notoriously tame Husband and who suffered his Wife to wear the Breeches, it was part of the 
Ceremony to sweep before the door of the person whom they intended to satyrise and if they 
stopped at any other door and swept there tno, it was a pretty broad hint that there were more 
Skimmingtons, i. e. Shrews in the town than one. 

In Gloucestershire this is called "a Skimmington." Jan. 21st. 1786. 

Mr. Douce has a curious Print, entitled, " An exact Representation of the humorous Procession 
of the Richmond Wedding of Abram Kendrick and Mary Westurn 17**." Two Grenadiers go 
first, then the Flag with a Crown on it is carried after them : four Men with hand-bells follow : then 
two Men, one carrying a Block-Head, having a Hat and Wig on. it, and a pair of Horns, the other 
bearing a Ladle : the Pipe and Tabor, Hautboy, and Fiddle : then the Bridegroom in a Chair, and 
attendants with Holly-hock flowers ; and afterward the Bride with her attendants carrying also 
Holy-hock flowers. Bride Maids and Bride Men close ,the procession. 

In Strype's edition of Stow's Survey of London, Book i. p. 258. we read : " 1562. Shrove Mon- 
day, at Charing -Cross was a Man carried of four Men : and before him a Bagpipe playing, a Shawm, 
and a Drum beating, and twenty Links burning about him. The cause was, his next neigh- 
bour's wife beat her Husband : it being so ordered that the next should ride about the place to ex- 

pose her. 

In Lupton's " Too good to be true," 4to. Lond. 1580. p. 50. Siuqila says : " In some places with 
us, if a Woman beat her Husband, the Man that dvvelleth next unto hir shall ride on a Cowlstaffe; 
and there is al the punishment she is like to have." Omen observes : " That is rather an uncomly 
custome than a good order, for he that is in faintnesse, is undecently used, and the unruly of- 

1 l^i CORNUTES. 

World as Trophies of his Wife's Beauty. What a pity it is to spoil such a sur- 

fendor is excused thereby. If this be all the punishment your Wives have that beate their simple 
husbandes, it is rather a boldning than a discouraging of some bolde and shamelesse Dames, to 
beate their simple husbandes, to make their next neyghbors (whom they spite) to ride on a Cowle 
staffe, rather rejoising and flearing at the riding of their neighbours, than sorrowing or repent- 
ing for beating of their husbands." 

The following is an extract from Hentzner's Travels in England, 1598 : " Upon taking the air 
down the River (from London) on the left hand, lies RatclifFe, a considerable suburb. On the op- 
posite Shore is fixed a long Pole with Rams-horns upon it, the intention of which was vulgarly said 
to be a reflection upon wilful and contented Cuckolds." edit. Strawb. Hill, 8vo. 1757- p. 47- 

Grose mentions a Fair called Horn-Fair, held at Charltou in Kent, on St. Luke's Day, the ISth 
of October. It consists of a riotous Mob, who, after a printed Summons dispersed through the 
adjacent Towns, meet at Cuckold's Point, near Deptford, and march from thence in procession 
through that Town and Greenwich to Charlton, with Horns of different kinds upon their Heads ; 
and at the Fair there are sold Ram's Horns and every sort of Toy made of Horn : even the ginger- 
bread Figures have Horns. 

A Sermon is preached at Charleton Church on the Fair Day. Tradition attributes the origin of 
this licentious Fair to King John, who it Is said (but what is not said of King John ?) being detected 
iu an adulterous amour, compounded for his crime by granting to the injured Husband all the 
Land from Charlton to Cuckold's Point, and established the Fair as the tenure. An account, it 
scarcely need be added, too ridiculous to merit the smallest attention. 

It appears from " The whole Life of Mr. William Fuller, &c." 8vo. Lond. 1703. p. 122. that it was 
the fashion in his time to go to Horn Fair dressed in Women's cloaths. " I remember being there 
upon Horn Fair Day, / was dressed in my Land-ladies best Gown and other Women's attire, and to 
Horn Fair we went, and as we were coming back by water, all the Cloaths were spoiled by dirty 
water, &c. that was flung on us in an inundation, for which I was obliged to present her with two 
guineas to make atonement for the damage sustained, &c." 

In an extract from an old Newspaper, I find it was formerly a Custom for a Procession to go 
from some of the Inns in Bishopsgate Street, in which were a King, a Queen, a Miller, a Coun- 
sellor, &c. and a great number of others, with Horns in their Hats, to Charlton, where they went 
round the Church three times, &c. So many indecencies were committed upon this occasion on 
Blackheath, (as the whipping of Females with Furze, &c.) that it gave rise to the Proverb of" all is 
fair at Horn Fair." 

[Mr. Lysons in the Environs of London, vol. iv. p. 325, says, the burlesque Procession has been 
discontinued since the year 1768.] 

Grose, in his Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, has noticed two Customs evidently con- 
nected with our present subject. 

" HIGHGATE. Sworn at Highgate. A ridiculous Custom formerly prevailed at the public Houses 


mise by suggesting that these reputed Horns are really the Elephant's Teeth . 

Of the Word 


I know not how this word, which is generally derived from " Cuculus," a 
Cuckow, has happened to be given to the injured Husband, for it seems more 
properly to belong to the Adulterer, the Cuckow being well known to be a Bird 
that deposits its Eggs in other Birds' nests. 

The Romans seem to have used Cuculus in its proper sense, as the Adulterer, 
calling with equal propriety the Cuckold himself " Carruca," or Hedge-Sparrow, 

in Highgate, to administer a ludicrous Oath to all Travellers of the middling rank who stopped 
there. The party was sworn on a pair of Horns, fastened on a stick ; the substance of the Oath 
was, never to kiss the Maid when he could kiss the Mistress, never to drink small beer when he 
could get strong, with many other injunctions of the like kind, to all which was added the saving 
clause/ Unless you like it best.' The person administering the Oath was always to be called Father 
by the Juror ; and he, in return, was to style him Son, under the penalty of a bottle." 

" HOISTING. A ludicrous ceremony formerly performed on every Soldier, the first time he ap- 
peared in the field after being married. It was thus managed. As soon as the regiment, or com- 
pany, had grounded their arms to rest awhile, three or four Men of the same company to which 
the Bridegroom belonged, seized upon him, and putting a couple of bayonets out of the two cor- 
ners of his hat, to represent Horns, it was placed on his head, the back part foremost. He was 
then hoisted on the shoulders of two strong fellows, and carried round the arms, a drum and fife 
beating and playing the Pioneers' call, named Round heads and Cuckolds, but on this occasion 
styled the Cuckold's March. In passing the colours, he was to take off his Hat. This, in some 
regiments, was practised by the Officers on their brethren." 

The following is from " A View of London and Westminster, or the Town Spy, &c." 2d edit. 
Svo. Lond. 1725. p. 26. The author is speaking of St. Clement Danes : 

" There was formerly a good custom of Saddling the Spit in this parish, which, for reasons well 
known at Westminster, is now laid aside : so that Wives, whoso Husbands are sea-faring persons, 
or who are otherwise absent from them, have lodged here ever since very quietly." 

For these different Conjectures the reader is again referred to " The Home exalted, or Room 
for Cuckolds," pp. 12, 13. 



which Bird is well known to adopt the other's spurious offspring . 


a Arga, in Sir Henry Spelman's Glossary, is rendered by Curruca and Cucurbita, i. e. Cuckold, 
or Coucold. For the French call a Gourd, Coucord, and we only change their R. into L. as we 
say Coriander for their Coliander, Coronel for their Colonel, &c. Such a blockhead then that hath 
caput Cucurbitinum is called Arga, as Paul. Diacon. de gest. Longobard. perhaps from the Greek 
Z-fyo:, i. e. one that doth not his work or business, and so Corbita in LL. Longobard. signifies advou- 
tery and whoredom, which Martinus derives from x.ovpPv, a Tree of a Saddle, and says Kurba in the 
Sclavonian signifies a lewd Woman, as Kurvin to bow down, &c. from curvare, as fornication 
from fornix, and probably hence comes our word Pumpkin for a silly rude fellow. 

Johnson, in his Dictionary, says : " The Cuckow is said to suck the Eggs of other Birds, and 
lay her own to be hatched in their place ; from which practice it was usual to alarm a Husband at 
the approach of an Adulterer by calling ' Cuckoo,' which by mistake was in time applied to the 

Pennant, in his Zoology, 8vo. Lond. 1776. vol. i. p. 234. speaking of the Cuckoo, says, " His 
note is so uniform, that his name in all languages seems to have been derived from it, and in all 
other Countries it is used in the same reproachful sense : 

The plain song Cuckoo grey, 
Whose Note full many a Man doth mark, 
And dares not answer nay." 


" The Reproach seems to arise from this Bird making use of the bed or nest of another to de- 
posit its Eggs in; leaving the care of its young to a wrong parent; but Juvenal, with more jus- 
tice, gives the infamy to the Bird in whose nest the supposititious Eggs were layed, 

' Tu tibi tune Curruca places.' 

Sat. vi. 1. 2~5." 

Pliny, Lib. xviii. c. 2*5. tells us, that Vine-dressers were antiently called Cuckows, i. e. slothful, 
because they deferred cutting their Vines till that Bird began to sing, which was later than the 
right time, so that the same name may have been given to the unhappy persons under considera- 
tion, when through disregard and neglect of their fair Partners, they have caused them to go 
a gadding in search of more diligent and industrious Companions. 

The Cuckow has been long considered as a Bird of Omen. Gay, in his Shepherd's Week, in 
the fourth Pastoral, notes the vulgar Superstitions on first hearing the Bird sing in the season : 

" When first the year, I heard the Cuckow sing, 
And call with welcome note the budding Spring, 
I straitway set a running with such haste, 
Deb'rah that won the Smock scarce ran so fast. 
Till spent for lack of breath, quite weary grown, 
Upon a rising bank I sat adown, 


Notwithstanding this, it is still supposed that the word " Cuculus" gave some 
rise to the name of Cuckold, though the Cuckow lays in others nests; yet the 

And doff'd my Shoe, and by my troth, I swear 
Therein I spy'd this yellow frizled Hair*, 
As like to Lubbcrkin's in curl and hue, 
As if upon his comely Pate it grew." 

I find the following still more extraordinary in " Naturall and Artificiall Conclusions," by 
Thomas Hill, Svo. 1 C5O. cxxvii. " A very easie and merry conceit to keep off Fleas from your 
Beds or Chambers. Plinie rejjorteth that if, when you first hear the Cuckow, you mark well 
where your right Foot standeth, and take up of that earth, the Fleas will by no means breed, either 
in your House or Chamber, where any of the same earth is thrown or scattered." So, the Traite' 
des Superstitions, par M. Thiers, lorn. i. p. 322. " La premiere fois qu'on entend le Coucou, 
cerner la Terre qui est sous le pied droit de celuy qui 1'entend, & la repandre dans les Maisons aim 
d'enchasser Jes puces." 

To the same purpose is the subsequent passage from " Caelii Calcagnini Encomium Pulicis," in 
a work entitled " Dissertationuni ludicrarum & Amoenitatum Scriptores Varii." 12mo. Lugd. 
Batav. 1644. p. 81 . 

" Conscii arcanorum Naturae, ubi primum Cuculum avem eanentem audivere, quicquid pulveris 
est sub vestigio dextro colligunt, atque in hunc usum servant : quum enim pulic'jm ttcdium eos 
ceperit, pulverem eum aspergunt : ex quo obsequiosi illi Contubernales commeatum sibi datum 
intelligentes, non minas, non jurgia, non digladationes expectantes, protinus excedunt & contu- 
berniutn relinquunt." 

In the North, and perhaps all over England, it is vulgarly accounted to be an unlucky omen if 
you have no money in your pocket when you hear the Cuckow for the first time in a season. 

" Augurium et omen ex Cuculi cantantis vicibus interruptis de annis vitas superstitis, anti- 
quum, sed vanum." Caesarius Heisterbachcensis, Lib. v. cap. 17, as cited by Schiller in his 
Glossar. Teutonicum. (Thesaurus, torn, iii.) p. 521. 

Green, the quaint author of " A Quip for an upstart Courtier," 4to. Lond. 1620. calls a Cuckow 
the Cuckold's Quirister: " It was just at that time when the Cuckold's Quirister began to bewray 
April Gentlemen with his never-changed Notes." Fol. 1. a. 

There is a vulgar error in Natural History in supposing the substance vulgarly called " Cuckow- 
spit" to proceed from the exhalation of the Earth, from the extravasated juice of Plants, or a 
hardened Dew, according to the account of a Writer in the Gent. Mag. for July 1794. p. 602. it 
really proceeds from a small Insect, which incloses itself within it, with an oblong obtuse body, 
a large head, and small eyes. The Animal emits the spume from many parts of its body, under- 
goes its changes within it, then bursts into a winged state, and flies abroad in search of its mate: 

* Thus described in the Connoisseur: No. 56. " I got up last May Morning and went into the Fields to hrar 
the Cuckoo, and when 1 pulled off my left Shoe, 1 found a Hair in it, exactly the same colour with hi? ." 


etymology may still hold, for Lawyers tell us that the honours and disgrace of 
Man and Wife are reciprocal : so that what the one hath, the other partakes of 

] t is particularly innoxious ; has four wings ; the two external ones of a dusky brown, marked with 
two white spots." 

From the subsequent passage in Green's work just quoted, it should seem that this substance 
was somehow or other vulgarly considered as emblematical of Cuckoldom : " There was loyal 
Lavender, but that was full of Cuckow-spittes, to shew that Women's light thoughts make their 
Husbands heavy heads." 

The following passage is in that most rare Tract, " Plaine Percevall, the Peace-maker of Eng- 
land," 4to. b. 1. Signal. B 2. " You say true, Sal sapit omnia : and Service without Salt, by the 
rite of England, is a Cuckold's fee if he claim it." 

Mr. Steeveas, commenting on the mention of Columbine in Hamlet, says, " From the Caltha 
Poetarum 1599, it should seem as if this Flower was the emblem of Cuckoldom : 

' The blue conmted Columbine, 
Like to the crooked horns of Acheloy'." 

"Columbine," says another of the Commentators, S. W. '' was an emblem of Cuckoldom on 
account of the horns of its Nectaria, which are remarkable in this plant. See Aquilegia, in 
Linnseus's Genera, 6S4." 

A third Commentator, Mr. Holt White, says : " The Columbine was emblematical of forsaken 
Lovers : 

' The Columbine in tawny often taken, 
Is then ascrib'd to such as are forsaken-' 

Browne's Britannia's Pastorals, B. I. song ii, 1613." 

See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 1803. vol. xviii. p. 296. 

Among the Witticisms on Cuckolds that occur in our old Plays, &c. must not be omitted the 
following in Ram Alley, or Merry Tricks, 4to. Lond. 1636. Signat. I. 2. 

" Why, my good Father, what should you do with a Wife ? 
Would you be crested 9 Will you needs thrust your head 
In one of Vulcan's Helmets ? Will you perforce 
Weare a City Cap, and a Court Feather ? 

Chaucer, in his Prosopopeia of " Jealousie," brings her in with a Garland of gold yellow, and 
a Cuckow sitting on her fist*. 

* In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vii. 8vo. Edinb. 1793. p. 600. Parish of Muirkirk, Ayrshire, 
mention is made of the larger Curlew, or ffhaup, a Bird that announces the approach of Spring, and calls to 
begin the labours of the Garden. There is added : " Like the Cuckoo, it has little variety of Notes, but it ap- 
pears much earlier; and its view is the more pleasing, as it announces that the severity of the Winter is past, 
and that the Time of the singing of Birds' is approaching :" with the following Anecdote, most pleasantly illus- 


it. Thus then the lubricity of the Woman is thrown upon the Man, and her 
dishonesty thought his dishonour : who, being the head of the Wife, and thus 

The following expression for " being jealous" is found in Ritson's Old Songs, 8vo. Lond. 1792. 
p. 112. 

" The married Man cannot do so, 

If he be merie and toy with any, 

His Wife will frowne and words give manye : 

Her yellow Hose she strait will put on." 

Butler, in his Hudibras, in the following passage, informs us for what a singular purpose 
Carvers used formerly to invoke the names of Cuckolds : 

" Why should not Conscience have vacation, 
As well as other Courts o' th' Nation ; 
Have equal power to adjourn, 
Appoint Appearance and Retorn ; 
And make as nice distinction serve 
To split a case, as those that carve, 
Invoking Cuckolds' names, hit Joints ;" &c. 

Part II. Canto ii. 1. 317. 

The practice has been already noticed (see vol. i. p. 297-) from Dr. Nash's Notes, vol. iii. p. 220. 
In "Wit and Mirth improved, or a New Academy of Complements," (Title gone,) p. 95. the 
fourth Gossip says : 

" Lend me that Knife, and I'll cut up the Goose : 

I am not right, let me turn edge and point. 

Who must I think upon to hit the Joint ? 

My own Good Man? I think there's none more fit. 

He's in my thoughts, and now the Joint 1 hit." 

la" Battupon Batt, 4th edit. 4to. Lond. 1694. p. 4. I find the following passage : 

" So when the Mistress canpoi hit the Joynt, 

Which proves sometimes you know a diff 'cult point, 

trative of national prejudice : " A Country Gentleman, from the West of Scotland, and who lived in a parish 
very similar to this both in soil and climate, being occasionally in England for a few weeks, was one delightful 
Summer evening asked out to hear the Nightingale, his friend informing him, at the same time, that this 
Bird was a native of England, and never to be heard in his own Country. After he had listen'd with attention 
for some time, upon being asked if he was not much delighted with the Nightingale; " It's a' very gude," replied 
the other, in the dialect of his own Country, " but I wad na' gie the 'wheeple of a Whmip for a' the Nightingales 
that ever sang." 


abused by her, he gains the .name of Cuckold from Cuckow, which Bird, as he 
used to nestle in others places, so 'twas of old the hieroglyphic of a fearful, idle, 
and stupid fellow, and hence became the nick-name of such Men as neglected 
to dress and prune their Vines in due season. So, Horace, 
" Magna compellans voce CucullumV 

Think on a Cuckold, straight the Gossips cry : 
But think on Batt's good Carving-knife say I; 
That still nicks sure, without offence and scandal : 
Dull Blades may be beholden to their Handle ; 
But those Batt makes are all so sharp, they scorn 
To be so charmed by his Neighbour's Horn." 

In the British Apollo, vol. ii. fol. Lond. 1708. Numb. 59, is the following Query : 

"When a person is joynting a piece of Meat, if he finds it difficult to joynt, he is bid to think 
of a Cuckold. I desire to know whence the Proverb ? 

" A. Thomas Web, a Carver to a Lord Mayor of London in King Charles the first's reign, was 
famous for his being a Cuckold, as for his dexterity in carving : therefore what became a Proverb 
was used first as an Invocation, when any took \ipon him to carve." 

Mr. Kyrle, the Man of Ross, celebrated by Pope, had always company to dine with him on a 
Market-day, and a Goose, if it could be procured, was one of the dishes ; which he claimed the 
privilege of carving himself. When any Guest, ignorant of the etiquette of the table, offered to 
save him that trouble, he would exclaim, " Hold your hand, Man, if I am good for any thing, it 
is for hitting Cuckold's Joints." 

In Richard Flecknoe's " Diarium," &c. Svo. 1656, p. 7O. is the following: 

" On Doctor Cuckold, 

" Who so famous was of late, 

He was with finger * pointed at : 

What cannot learning do, and single state ? 

" Being married, he so famous grew, 

As he was pointed at with two : 

What cannot learning and a Wife now do }" 

b In " Paradoxical Assertions and Philosophical Problems, by R. H." Svo. Lond. 1664. p. 5. 
" Why Cuckolds are said to wear Horns ?" we read : " Is not this Monster said to wear the Horns 
because other Men with their two fore-fingers point and make Horns at him ?" Ibid. p. 28. " Why 
the abused Husband is called Cuckold." " Since Plautus wittily, and with more reason calls the 
Adulterer, and not him whose Wife is adulterated, Cuculum, the Cuckold, because he begets 
Children on others Wives, which the credulous Father believes his own : why should not he then 

* Digito demonstrare. 


I must conclude this subject, which is not of the most delicate kind, with an 
apology : yet in speaking of Popular Antiquities, it seemed incumbent upon me 
to say something concerning it. 

To jest concerning a Crime, which is replete with every evil to Society, is 
indeed to scatter firebrands and arrows in our sport c . It may be added, there 
is no philosophical justice in such insults. If the Husband was not to blame, 
it is highly ungenerous, and an instance of that common meanness in life of con- 
that corrupts another Man's Wife be rather called the Cuckow, for he sits and sings merrily whilst 
his Eggs are hatched by his neighbours' Hens ?" 

Mr. Donee's manuscript Notes, however, on the former edition of this Work, say: "That the 
word ' Cuculus' was a term of reproach amongst the antients there is not the least doubt, and that 
it was used in the sense of our ' Cuckold' is equally clear. Plautus has so introduced it on more 
than one occasion. In his Asiuaria he makes a Woman thus speak of her Husband : 
" Ac etiam cubat Cuculus, surge, Amator, idomum:" 

and again : 

" Cano capite te Cuculum, Uxor domum exlustris rapit." 

Asinaria, act v. sc. 2. 

And yet in another place, viz. the Pseudolus, act i. sc. 1. where Pseudolus says to Callidorus, 
"J^md fles, Cucule ?" the above sense is out of the question, and it is to be taken merely as a term 
of reproach. Horace certainly uses the word as it is explained by Pliny in the passage already 
given, and the conclusion there drawn appeal's to be that which best reconciles the more modern 
sense of the term, being likewise supported by a Note in the Variorum Horace. 

" Cuculum credi suppo&ititios adsciscere pullos, quod eniin sit timidus, et defendendi impar, 
cum etiam a minimis veil! avibus. Avis autem quae pullos ipsius rapiunt suos ejicere, eo quod 
Cuculi pullus sit elegans." Antigoni Carystii Hist. Mirabilium. 4to. 1619. 

The application of the above passage to our use of the word Cuckold, as connected with the 
Cuckow, is, that the Husband, timid, and incapable of protecting his honour, like that Bird, is 
called by its name, and thus converted into an object of contempt and derision. 

" Curuca, avis quae alieuos pullos nutrit. Currucare, aliquem Currucam facere ejus violando 
usorem." Vetus Glossar. inter MSS. Bernens. vide Sinner! Catal. torn. i. p. 412. 

c I find the following most spirited Invective against the pernicious Vice on which the above 
popular Sayings are founded, in Cotgrave's English Treasury of Wit and Language, Svo. Loud. 
1655. p. 136. 

" He that dares violate the Husband's honour, 
The Husband's curse stick to him, a tame Cuckold : 
His Wife be fair and young; but most dishonest : 
Most impudent, and have no feeling of it; 
No conscience to reclaim her ftom a Monster. 


founding a person's misfortunes with his faults d . The cruelty of such wanton 

Let her lie by him, like a flattering Ruin, 

And at one instant kill both name and honour : 

Let him be lost, no eye to weep his end, 

And find no earth that's base enough to bury him." 

* Mr. Douce's MS Notes on this passage in a copy of the former edition of the Popular Antiquities, 
say : " The judicious and humane observation which closes this Chapter, must afford pleasure to every 
feeling mind : and it is difficult, upon a first examination of the subject, to account for the dis- 
grace that usually attends the Man whose misfortunes should seem rather to deserve commisera- 
tion. But the actual chastisement of the Husband, hereafter mentioned, seems to have been 
inflicted under the idea that a Man who neglects the proper government and coercion of his Wife, 
which are vested in him by law, by such negligence contributes rather to encourage than prevent 
a Crime disgraceful to Society, and becomes himself a particeps criminis, and deserving the 
whole of the punishment, from which the frailty of the Woman, and above all, a tenderness 
towards the Sex, seems to exempt her altogether." 

It is possible that upon the strength of the above, or some such argument, Venette, the author 
of the "Tableau de 1' Amour Conjugal," says : "Quoyque 1'on disc, je ne trouve point injuste, ce 
qui Ton ordonnoit, et ce que Ton pratiquoit mesme autrefois a Paris, lorsque 1'impudicite d'une 
femme etoit averci. On faisoit monter le Mari sur un An6, duquel il tenoit la que'iie k la main, sa 
Femme menoit 1'Ane, et un heraut crioit par les Rues : L'on en fera de mesme a celui qui le fera. 
Un presque semblable coutume etoit etablie en Catalogue. Le Mari payoit 1'amande quand la 
femme etoit convainciie d'adultere, comme si parla on eust du plutost imputer la faute au Mari 
qu'a la Femme." 

In the Athenian Oracle, vol. ii. p. 359. it is remarked of Cuckoldry, " The Romans were honour- 
able, and yet Pompey, Caesar, Augustus, Lucullus, Cato and others had this fate, but not its 
infamy and scandal. For a vicious action ought to be only imputed to the author, and so ought 
the shame and dishonour which follow it. He only that consents and is pimp to his own cuckoldry 
is really infamous and base." 

The following singular passage is in Green's " Quip for an upstart Courtier," 4to. Lond. 1620. 
" Questioning," says he, " why these Women were so cholericke, he pointed to a Bush of Nettles : 
Marry, quoth he, they have severally watered this Bush, and the virtue of them is to force a Woman 
that has done so, to be as peevish for a whole day, and as waspish, as if she had been stung in the 
brow with a Hornet." Perhaps the origin of this well-known superstitious observation must be 
referred to a curious method of detecting the loss of Female Honour noticed in " Naturall and 
Artificial! Conclusions, by Thomas Hill," Svo. Lond. 1650. art. Ixxix. 

It may be necessary here to deprecate the frowns of our fair countrywomen of the eighteenth 
Century on reading the simple processes of their Ancestors to detect the loss of female honour. 



reflections will appear, if we consider that a Man, plagued with a vicious Wife, 
needs no aggravation of his misery. 

Yet who knows what powerful auxiliaries even these ridiculous superstitions may have proved, 
in the dark Ages, to what is of such consequence to the Happiness of Society, I mean the Virtue 
of Women. 

I have, however, heard this accounted for otherwise : from females having been stung witli 
Nettles in the attitude of the Sex on a certain occasion, called in the Glossary to Douglas's Virgil, 
"couring, ut Mulieres solent ad mingendum." 

Park, in his Travels in the Interior of Africa, speaking of Kolor, a considerable Town, near the 
entrance to which was a sort of Masquerade Habit hanging upon a Tree, made of the Bark of 
Trees, which he was told belonged to Mumbo Jumbo, says : " This is a strange Bugbear, com- 
mon in all the Mandingo Towns, and employed by the Pagan Natives in keeping the Women in 
subjection ; for, as they are not restricted in the number of their Wives, eveiy one marries as 
many as he can conveniently maintain, and it often happens that the Ladies disagree among them- 
selves : family quarrels sometimes rise to such a height that the Voice of the Husband is disre- 
garded in the tumult. Then the Interposition of Mumbo Jumbo is invoked, and is always deci- 
sive. This strange Minister of Justice, this sovereign Arbiter of domestic strife, disguised in his 
masquerade attire, and armed with the rod of public authority, announces his coming by loud and 
dismal screams in the adjacent Woods. He begins as soon as it is dark to enter the Town, and 
proceeds to a place where all the Inhabitants are assembled to meet him- 

" The appearance of Mumbo Jumbo, it may be supposed, is unpleasing to the African Ladies ; 
but they dare not refuse to appear when summoned, and the Ceremony commences with dancing 
and singing, which continues till Midnight, when Mumbo seizes on the Offender. The unfortu- 
nate Victim being stripped naked, is tied to a post, and severely scourged with Mumbo's rod, 
amidst the shouts and derision of the whole assembly : and it is remarkable that the rest of the 
women are very clamorous and outrageous in their abuse of their up.forlunate Sister, until day- 
light puts an end to this disgusting revelry." 

VOL. 11. 




called also 


" Make me a straine speake groaning like a BELL, 
That towles departing Soules." 

Marston's Works, Svo. Lond. 1G33. Signal. D. 5. b. 

THE word "Passing," as used here, signifies clearly the same as " depart- 
ing," that is, passing from Life to Death a . So that even from the name we may 

a The following Clause, in the, " Advertisements for due Order, &c." in the 7th year of Queen 
Elizabeth, is much to our purpose : 

" Item, that when anye Christian Bodie is in passing, that the Bell be tolled, and that the Curate 
be speciallie called for to comforte the sicke person; and after the time of his passing, to ringe 
no more but one shorte peale ; and one before the Buriall, and another short pe.alc after the 
Buriall *." 

In Catholic times, here, it has been customary to toll the Passing Bell at all hours of (he Night 
as well as by Day : as the subsequent Extract from the Churchwarden's Accounts for the parish of 
Wolchurch (a MS. in the Harleian Library, No. 2252.) of the date of 1526, proves. " Item, the 
Clerke to have for tollynge of the passynge Belle, for Manne, Womanne, or Childes, if it be in the 
day, iiijd. Item, if it be in the Night, for the same, viijrf." See Strutt's " Manners," &c. vol. iii. p. 172. 

The following is a passage in Stubs's " Anatomie of Abuses," Svo. Lond. 1585. p. 75. He is 

* " His gowned Brothers follow him, and bring him to his long home. A short peale doseth up his Funeral 
file." An Hospital Man, in " Wliimzics : or a new Cast of Characters." 12mo, 1631. pag. 64. See Ibid, 
y>. 206. 


gather that it was the intention in tolling a Passing Bell to pray for the person 
dying, and who was not yet dead. 

relating the dreadful end of a Swearer in Lincolnshire. " At the last, the people perceiving his 
ende to approche, caused the Bell to tolle ; who hearing the Bell toll for him rushed up in his 
Bed very vehemently." 

There is a passage in Shakspeare's Henry the Fourth, which proves that our Poet has not been a 
more accurate observer of Nature than of the Manners and Customs of his Time : 

" and his Tongue 
Sounds ever after as a sullen Bell 
Remember'd knolling a departing Friend." 

Hen. IV. Part II. 

Mr. Douce is inclined to think that the Passing-Bell was originally intended to drive away any 
Daemon that might seek to take possession of the Soul of the deceased. In the Cuts to those 
Horae which contain the Service of the Dead, several Devils are waiting for this purpose in theChamber 
of the dying Man, to whom the Priest is administering extreme unction. He refers to the Schol. 
in Theocrit. Idyll, ii. v. 36. And adds : " It is to be hoped that this ridiculous custom will never 
be revived, which has most probably been the Cause of sending many a good Soul to the other 
world before its time : nor can the practice of tolling Bulls for the dead be defended upon any 
principle of Common Sense, Prayers for the Dead being contrary to the Articles of our Religion." 

Cassation has this taunt against the Protestants : "Though," says he, " the English now deny 
that Prayers are of any service to the dead, yet I could meet with no other account of this Cere- 
mony than that it was a Custom of the old Church of England, i. e. the Church of Rome. ' Et 
talis ritus etiam de praesenti servatur in Anglia, ut cum quis decessit, statim Canipana propriac 
illius Parochiae special! quodam modo sonat per aliquod Temporis. spatium. jQuamvis Angli ne- 
gcnt modo Orationes et Suffragia defunctis prnficua; non aliam tamen in hoc ab illis rationem 
potui percipcre, quatn quod talis Sonus sit Ritus antiquae Ecclesi;c Anglicanae." Cassal. de Vet. 
Sac. Christ. Rit. p. 241. Bourne, Antiq. Vulg. ch. i. Cassalion should h-ive consulted Durami's 
" Rationale." 

Among the many objections of the Brownists, it is laid to the charge of the Church of England, 
that though we deny the doctrine of Purgatory and teach the contrary, yet how well our practice 
suits with it may be considered in our ringing of hallowed Bells for the Soul. See Bishop Hall's 
Apology against the Brownists. " We call them," says the Bishop, Ibid. p. 5(J8. " SOUL BELLS, 
for that they signify the departure of the Soul, not for that they help the passage of the Soul.' 1 
Bourne, ut supra. 

Wheatley, in his Illustration of the Liturgy, apologizes for our retaining this Ceremony : " Our 
Church," says he, '' in imitation of the Saints in former ages, calls on the Minister and others, who 
are at hand, to assist their Brother in his last extremity. In order to this she directs that when 
any one is passing out of this Life, a Bell should be tolled, &c." It is called from thence the 
Passing Bell. 


As for the title of " SOUL BELL," if that Bell is so called, which they toll 
after a person's breath is out, and mean by it that it is a Call upon us to pray 

Bourne, in his Antiquitates Vulgares, pp. 3. 7. 12. seems to clash with himself on this subject. 
He, however, corrects himself in p. 8. 

I find the following in " Articles to be enquired of within the Archdeaconry of Yorke, by the 
Church Wardens and Sworne-Mcn, A. D. 1GH ." (any year till 1640.) 4to. Lond. b. I. : " Whether 
doth your Clark or Sexton, when any one is passi/ig out of this Life, neglect to toll a Bell, ha\ing 
notice thereof : or, the party being dead, cloth he suffer any more ringing than one short Peale, and, 
before his Burial one, and after the same another?' Enquiry is also directed to be made, " whether 
at the death of any there be any superstitious ringing ?" 

" The Passing Bell," says Grose, "was antiently rung for two purposes : one to bespeak the 
Prayers of all good Christians, for a Soul just departing ; the other, to drive away the evil Spirits 
who stood at the Bed's foot, and about the House, ready to seize their prey, or at least to molest and 
terrify the Soul in its passage : but by the ringing of that Bell (for Durandas informs us Evil 
Spirits are much afraid of Bells,) they were kept aloof; and the Soul, like a him' eel Hare, gained 
the start, or had what is by Sportsmen called Law*. 

Hence, perhaps, exclusive of the additional Labour, was occasioned the high price demanded 
for tolling the greatest Bell of the Church ; for that, being louder, the Evil .Spirits must go farther 
off to be clear of its sound, by which the poor Soul got so much more the start of them : besides, 
being heard farther off, it would likewise procure the dying man a greater number of Prayers. 
This dislike of Spirits to Bells is mentioned in the Golden Legend by Wynkyn de Wordef." 

Bourne supposes that from the proverb mentioned by Bede, " Lord have mercy upon the Soul," 
as St. Oswald said when he fell to the Earth J, has been derived the present National Saying : 

" When the Bell begins to toll, 
Lord have mercy on the Soul." 

He tells us that it was a Custom with several religious Families at Newcastle upon Tyne, to use 
Prayers, as for a Soul departing, at the tolling of the Passing Bell. 

In Ray's Collection of old English Proverbs, I find the following Couplet : 
" When thou dost hear a Toll or Knell, 
Then think upon THY Passing Bell." 

* Durandus says: " Item ut Daemones tinnitu Campanarum, Christianos ad Prcces concitantiurn, tcrrean- 
tur. Formula vero baptizandt seu benedicendi Campanas antiqua e.t." Rationale. Lib. C. xxii. G. 

f Grose tells us of another remarkable Superstition : that " It is impossible for a person to die, whilst resting 
on a pillow stuffed with the feathers of a Dove : but that he will struggle with Death in the most exquisite tor- 
ture. The pillows of dying persons are therefore frequently taken away, when they appear in great agonies 
lest they may have Pigeon's feathers in them. 

% Unde dicunt in Proverbio Deus miserere animabus dixit Oswaldus, cadcns in Terram." Bed. Hist. Eccl. 

.Hii. C. 12. 


for the Soul of the deceased person, I know not how the Church of England 
can be defended against the charge of those, who, in this instance, would seem 
to tax us with praying for the dead. 

Bourne considers the Custom as old as the use of Bells themselves in Christian 
Churches, i. e. about the Seventh Century. Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History, 
speaking of the death of the Abbess of St. Hilda, tells us, that one of the Sisters 
of a distant Monastery, as she was sleeping 1 ", thought she heard the well-known 
sound of that Bell which called them to Prayers, when any of them had de- 
parted this Life. Bourne thinks the Custom originated in the Roman Catholic 
idea of the prevalency of Prayers for the dead. The Abbess above mentioned 
had no sooner heard this, than she raised all the Sisters and called them into 

[In "The Rape of Lucrece," by T. Heywood, 4to. 1G30. Valerius says : " Nay if he be dying, as, 
I could wish he were, I'le ring out hisfunerall peale, and this it is : 

" Come list and harke, 

The Bell doth towle, 

For some but NEW 

Departing Soule. 

And was not that 

Some ominous fowle, 

The Batt, the Night- 
Crow, or Skrcech-Owle. 

To these I heare 

The wild Woolfe howle 

In this black night 

That seems to skowle. 

All these my black- 

Booke shall in-rowle. 
^ Tor hark, still; still, 

The Bell doth towle, 

For some but now 

Departing Soicle."'] 

b " H*c, tune in dormitorio Sororum pausans, exaudivit subito in aere notum Campanae Sonum 
quo ad Oraliones excitari vel convocari solebant, cum quis eorum de seculo fuisset evocatus." Bed. 
Eccles. Hist. Lib. iv. cap. 23. 

" Quod cum ilia audisset, suscitavit cunctas Sorores, et in Eccle&iam convocatas, Orationibus et 
Psalmis pro anima Matris operam dare monuit." Ibid. 


the Church, where she exhorted them to pray fervently, and sing a Requiem for 
the Soul of their Mother. 

The same Author contends that this Bell, contrary to the present Custom, 
should be tolled before the person's departure, that good Men might give him 
their Prayers, adding, that, if they do no good to the departing Sinner, they at 
least evince the disinterested Charity of the person that prefers them c . 

c In " A Funeral Oration made the 14th clave of January, by John Hoper, the yeare of cure Sal- 
vation 1549." 8vo. Loncl. 1550. Signat. C. 3. occurs this singular passage : " Theyr Remedyes be 
folyshe and to be mocked at, as the Kyngi/nge of Belles, to case the payne of the dead wythe other :" 
as if the purpose of lolling the Passing Bell had been intended to give an easy passage to the 
dying person. 

The following passage is from Veron's " Hunting of Purgatory to Death," Lond. 1561. fol. GO. 
" If they shcidde tolle thcyr Belles (as they did in good Kynge Edwardes daycs) when any bodye is 
drawing to Ids Ende and departinge out of this Worlde, for to cause all menne to praye unto God 
for him, that of his accustomed Goodnesse and Mercye, he should vouchsafe too receave him unto 
his Mercye, forgevinge him all his Sinnes : Their ringinge shuld have better appearance and 
should be more conformable to the auncientc Catholicke Churche." 

In " The Diarey of Robert Birrel," preserved in Fragments of " Scotish History," 4to. Edinb, 
1798, is the following curious entry : 

" 1566. The 25 of October, vord came to the Toune of Edinburghe, frome tlie Queine, yat her 
Majestic \vcs deadly scike, and desyrit ye Bells to be runge, and all ye pcopill to resort to ye kirk 
to pray for her, for she wes so seike that none lipned her Life *." 

In that most rare Book entitled, " Wits, Fits, and Fancies : or a gencrall and serious Collection 
of the Sententious Speeches, Answers, Jests, and Behaviours of all Sorles of Estates, from the 
Throane to the Cottage." 4to. Lond 1614. p. 195. if any proofs were wanting, \ve find the fol- 
lowing, that the Passing Bell was antiently rung while the person was dying. " A Gentleman lying 
veiy sicke abed, heard a Passing Bell ring out, and said unto his Physition, tell me (iMaistcr Doc- 
tor) is yonder Musickefor my Dancing ?" 

Ibid. p. 19C. concerning " The ringing out at the Burial," is this anecdote : " A rich Churle and 
a Begger were buried, at one time, in the same Church-yard, and the Belles rung out ainainefor 
the Miser.- Now, the wise-acre his Son and Executor, to the ende the Worldo might not thinke 
that all that ringing was for the begger, but for his father, hyred a Trumpetter to stand all the 
ringing-while in the Belfrie, and betwecne every pealc to sound his Trumpet, and proclaime 
aloude and say : Sirres, this next Peale is not for R. but for Maistcr N. his father." 

In " Articles to be enquired of, throughout the Diocesse of Chichestcr," A. D. 1638. 4to. Lond. 
1C38. b. 1. under the Head of Visitation of the Sicke and Persons at the point of Death, we read : " In 

* Expected her to live. 


I cannot agree with Bourne in thinking that the Ceremony of tolling a Bell 
on this occasion was as antient as the use of Bells, which were first intended as 
signals to convene the people to their public Devotions. It has more probably 

the meane time is there a passing-bell tolled, that they who are within the hearing of it may be moved in 
their private Devotions to recommend the state of the departing Soule into the hands of their Re- 
deemer, a duty which all Christians are bound to, out of a fellow-feeling of their common Mortality." 

Fuller, in his "Good Thoughts in Worse Times," 12mo. Lond. 1647. p. 3. has the following 
very curious passage : " Hearing a Passing-Bell, I prayed that the sick Man might have, through 
Christ, a safe Voyage to his long Home. Afterwards I understood that the Party was dead some 
hours before ; and, it seems in some places of London, the Tolling of the Bell is but a preface of 
course to the ringing it out. Bells belter silent than thus telling Lyes. What is this but giving a false 
Alarme to Men's Devotions, to make them to be ready armed with their Prayers for the assistance 
of such who have already fought the good fight, yea and gotten the Conquest ? Not to say that 
Men's Charity herein may be suspected of Superstition in praying for the Dead." 

Dr. Zouch, in a Note on the Life of Sir Henry Wotton (Walton's Lives, 4to. York, 1796. 
p. 144.) says : " The Soul-bell was tolled before the departure of a person out of Life, as a signal 
for good Men to offer up their prayers for the dying. Hence the abuse commenced of praying 
for the dead. ' Aliquo moricnte Campanaj debent pulsari, Ut.Populus hoc audiens oret pro 
illo.' Durandi Rationale.'' He is citing Donne's Letter to Sir Henry Wot ton in verse : 
" And thicken on you now, as prayers ascend 
To Heaven on troops at a good Man's Passing Bell *." 

Bourne says, the custom was held to be popish and superstitious during the Grand Rebellion, 
for in a vestry-book belonging to the chapel of All Saints, in Ncwcastle-upon-Tyne. it is observ- 
able that the tolling of the bell is not mentioned in the parish from the year 1643 till 1655, when 

* Camden, in his Ancient and Modern Manners of the Irish, tells us : " When a person is at the point of 
death, just before he expires, certain Women Mourners, standing in the Cross-ways, spread their hands, and call 
him with cries adapted to the purpose, and endeavour to stop the departing soul, reminding it of the advantages 
it enjuys in goods, wives, person, reputation, kindred, friends, and horses: asking why it will go, and where, 
and to whom, and upbraiding it with ingratitude, and lastly, complaining that the departing Spirit will be 
transformed into tliuse forms which appear at night and in the dark: and, alter it has quitted the Body, they 
bewail it with bowlings and clapping of hands. They follow the funeral with sueh a nuise, that one would 
think there was an end both of living and dead. The most violent in these lamentations are the Nurses, 
Daughters, and Mistresses. They make as much lamentation for those slain in battle, as for those who die in 
their beds, though they esteem it the easiest Death to die fighting or robbing; but they vent every reproach 
against their enemies, and cherish a lasting deadly hatred against all their kindred." Camd. Brit. edit. 1789, 
vol. iii. p. 668. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. viii. 8vo. Edinb. 1793. p. 213. Parish of Nigg, County of Kincar- 
dine, we read : " On the sudden Death of their Relations, or fear of it, by the Sea turning dangerous, the Fisher 
people, especially the Females, express their sorrow by Exclamation of Voice and Gesture of Body, like the East- 
ern Nations, and those in an early State of Civilization." 


been an after-invention of superstition. Thus praying for the dying was im- 
proved upon into praying for the dead. 

the Church by this and such like means having been brought in dilapidations, through want of 
money, it was at a Vestry, held January 21 that year, ordered to be tolled again. Antiq. Vulg. ch. i. 

I find the following in " Articles of Visitation for the Diocese of Worcester, 1662." " Doth the 
parish clerk or sexton take care to admonish the living, by tolling of a passing-bell of any that are 
dyin-, thereby to meditate of their own deaths, and to commend the other's weak condition to the 
mercy of God ? In similar Articles for the Diocese of St. David in the same year, I read as fol- 
lows : " Doth the parish clerk, or sexton, when any person is passing out of this life, upon notice 
being given him thereof, toll a Bell, as hath been accustomed, that the neighbours may thereby 
be warned to recommend the dying person to the grace and favour of God ?" 

To a dispute about the origin of this custom, and whether the Bell should be rung out when 
the party is dying, or some time after, the British Apollo, vol. ii. No. 7, Supernumerary, for 
October 1709, answers: "The Passing Peal was constituted, at first, to be rung when the party 
was dying, to give notice to the religious people of the neighbourhood to pray for his soul ; and 
therefore properly called the Passing Peal." 

Pennant, in his History of Whitefbrd and Holywel!, p. 99, says : " That excellent memento to the 
living, the Passing Bell, is punctually sounded. I mention this, because idle niceties have, in great 
towns, often caused the disuse. It originated before the Reformation, to give notice to the priest to 
do the last duty of extreme unction to the departing person, in case he had no other admonition. 
The canon (G") allows one short peal after death, one other before the funeral, and one other 
after the funeral. The second is still in use, and is a single bell solemnly tolled. The third is a 
merry peal, rung at the request of the relations ; as if, Scythian like, they rejoiced at the 'escape 
of the departed out of this troublesome World." He says, p. 100 : " BELL-CORN is a small per- 
quisite belonging to the clerk of certain parishes. I cannot learn the origin." 

The following passage is in " A strange Horse-Uace by Thomas Dekkar," 4to. Lond. 1613, 
speaking of "rich Curmudgeons" lying sick, he says: " Their sonncs and heires cursing as fast 
(as the mothers pray) untill the great Capon Bell ring out." Signat. E. 2. If this does not mean 
the Passing Bell I cannot explain it. 

There seems to be nothing intended at present by tolling the Passing Bell, but to inform the 
neighbourhood of any person's death. 

Sir John Sinclair, in the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xviii. Svo. Edinb. 1796, p. 439, 
says, in <t note to the Account of the Parish of Borrovrstownness, county of Linlithgow : " At the 
burials of the poor people, a custom, almost obsolete in other parts of Scotland, is continued 
here. The beadle perambulates the streets with a Bell, and intimates the death of the individual 
in the following language : ' All brethren and sisters, I let ye to wit, there is a brother (or sinter) 

departed at the pleasure of the Almighty, (here he lifts his hat,) called All those that come 

to the burial, come at of clock. The corpse is at .' He also walks before the corpse 

to the church-yard, ringing his Bell." 


Durand, who flourished about the end of the twelfth century, tells us, in his 
Rationale" 1 , "when any one is dying, Bells must be tolled, that the people may 
put up their prayers : twice for a woman and thrice for a man : if for a Clergy- 
man, as many times as he had Orders, and at the conclusion a peal on all the 
Bells, to distinguish the quality of the person for whom the people are to put up 
their prayers. A Bell, too, must be rung while the corpse is conducted 
to church, and during the bringing it out of the church to the grave." This 
seems to account for a custom still preserved in the North of England, of mak- 
ing numeral distinctions at the conclusion of this ceremony ; i. e. nine knells 
for a man, six for a woman, and three for a child, which are undoubtedly the 
vestiges of this antient injunction of popery. 

Mr. Deuce's MS Notes say : " Till the middle of the last century, a person called the Bell-man 
of the Dead, went about the streets of Paris, dressed in a deacon's robe, ornamented with deaths' 
heads, bones, and tears, ringing a Bell, and exclaiming, ' Awake, you that sleep ! and pray to 
God for the dead !' This custom prevailed still longer in some of the Provinces, where they per- 
mitted even the trivial parody, ' Prenez vos femmes embrasser les'." See the Voyageur a Paris, 
torn. i. p. 72. 

d " Verum aliquo moriente, Campanae debent pulsari j ut Populus hoc audiens, oret pro illo. 
Pro Muliere quideui bis, pro eo quod invenit asperitatem. Primb enim fecit hominem alienum 
a Deo, quare secunda Dies non habuit benedictioncm. Pro Viro verb ter pulsatur, quia primo 
inventa est in Homine Trinitas : primo enim formatus est Adam de Terra, deinde Mulier ex Adam, 
postea Homo creatus est ab utroque, et ita est ibi Trinitas*. Si autem Clericus sit, tot vicibus 
simpulsatur, quot Ordines habuit ipse. Ad ultimum verb compulsari debet cum omnibus Cam- 
panis, ut ita sciat populus pro quo sit orandum. Debet etiam compulsari quando ducitur ad Ec- 
clesiam, et quando de Ecclesia ad Tumulum deportatur." Durandi Rationale. Lib. i. c. 4. 13. 

Distinction of rank is preserved in the North of England, in the tolling of the Soul Bell. An 
high fee annexed excludes the common people, and appropriates to the death of persons of con- 
sequence the tolling of the great Bell in each church on this occasion. There too, as Durand, 
above cited, orders, a Bell is tolled, and sometimes chimes are rung, a little before the burial, 
and while they are conducting the corpse to church. They chime, or ring, too, at some places, 
while the grave is filling up. 

Durand, whose superstition often makes one smile, is of opinion, as has been already noticed 
from Grose, that devils are much afraid of Bells, and fly away at the sound of them. His words 

* A similar passage is found in an old English Homily for Trinity Sunday. See Strait's Manners and Cus- 
toms, yol. iii. p. 176: "The fourme of the Trinity, was founden in Manne, that was Adam our forefadir, of 
earth oon personne, and Eve of Adam the secunde persone : and of them both was the third persone. At the 
deth of a inanne three Bellis shulde be ronge, as bis knyll, in worscheppe of the Trinetee, and for a womanne, 
who ws the secunde persone of the Trinetee, two Belli* should he rungen." 



I have not been able to ascertain precisely the date of the useful invention of 
Bells. The Antients had some sort of Bells. I find the word " Tintinnabula," 
which we usually render Bells, in Martial, Juvenal, and Suetonius. The 
Romans appear to have been summoned by these, of whatever size or form 
they were, to their hot baths, and to the business of public places'. 

are ; " Caeterum Campana: in processionibus pulsantur ut Dremones timentes fugiant. Timent 
enim, auditis tubis Ecclesise militantis, scilicet Campanis, sicut aliquis Tyrannus timet, audiens in 
Terra sua tubas alicujus potentis Regis inimici sui." Rationale. Lib. i. c. 4. 15. 

That Ritualist would have thought it a prostitution of the sacred utensils, had he heard them 
rung, as I have often done, with the greatest impropriety, on winning a long main at cock- 
fighting. He would, perhaps, have talked in another strain, and have represented these aerial 
enemies as lending their assistance to ring them. 

On the ringing of Bells to drive away spirits, much may be collected from Magius de Tintinna- 
bulis. See Swinburne's Travels in the Two Sicilies, 4to vol. i. p. 98. 

The small Bells which are seen in antient representations of hermitages were most probably in- 
tended to drive away evil spirits. St. Anthony stood in particular need of such assistance. 

c See some curious particulars upon the subject of Bells in Sir Henry Spelman's History of Sa- 
crilege, p. 284, & seq. The same learned writer, in his Glossary, v. CAMPANA, has preserved 
two monkish lines on the subject of the antient offices of Bells : 

" Laudo Deum verum, Plebem voco, congrego Clerum, 
Defunctos ploro, Pestem fugo, Festa decoro." 

I find the following monkish rhymes on Bells in " A Helpe to Discourse," 12mo. Lend. 1633, 
p. 63, in which the first of these lines is repeated : 

" En ego Campana, nunquam denuntio \ ana, 

Laudo Deum verum, Plebem voco, congrego Clerum, 

Defunctos plango, vivos voco, fulmina frango, 

Vox mea, vox vitae, voco vos ad sacra venite. 

Sanctos collaudo, tonitrua fugo, funera claudo, 

Funera plango, fulgura frango, Sabbatha panga: 

Excito lentos, dissipo ventos, paco cruentos." 

1 have examined the passage before mentioned of Bede in King Alfred's Saxon Version. In ren- 
dering Campana, I find he has used Clujjan, which properly signifies a clock *. Clock is the old 
German name for a Bell, and hence it is called in French une Cloche. There were no Clocks in 
England in King Alfred's time. He is said to have measured his time by wax candles, marked 
with circular lines to distinguish the hours. I would infer from this that our Clocks have been 
certainly so called from the Bells in them. Mr. Strutt confesses he has not been able to trace th& 

* Sellun is in the margin. 

BELLS. 131 

The large kind of Bells, now used in Churches, are said to have been invented 
by Paulinus, Bishop of Nola f , in Campania s, whence the Campana of the 
lower Latinity, about the four hundredth year of the Christian sera. Two hun- 
dred years afterwards they appear to have been in general use in Churches. 
Mr. Bingham, however, thinks this a vulgar error h . 

The Jews used Trumpets for Bells'. The Turks do not permit the use of 
them at all : the Greek Church under their dominion still follow their old Cus- 
tom of using wooden Boards, or iron Plates full of holes, which they hold in 
their hands and knock with a Hammer or Mallet, to call the people together to 
Church k . 

China has been remarkably famous for its Bells. Father Le Cointe tells us, 
that at Pekin there are seven Bells, each of which weighs one hundred and 
twenty thousand pounds. 

date of the invention of Clocks in England. Stow tells us they were commanded to be set upon 
Churches in the year 612. A gross mistake ! and into which our honest Historian must have been 
led by his misunderstanding the word " Cloca," a Latin term coined from the old German name 
for a Bell. For Clocks, therefore, meo periculo, read Bells. 

( " Nolae etymologiam in obscuro positam esse, affirmarc ausimj etsi nonulli, ut Polydorus 
Virgilius de Inventoribus Ilerum, lib. iii. cap. 18. et alii Tintinnabulum dici Nolatn credederint, 
a Nola Campania: urbe, cujus Episcopus Paulinus note, sive campanse inventor fuerit : qua in 
re halucinantur, nam ante Paulinum Episcopum Nolanum, de quo Gennadius in Additamentis ad 
D. Hieronymi librum de Viris illustribus scribens nihil tale profert, Nolae mentionem fecit Quin- 
tilianus, qui Domitiani Imperatoris setate floruit. Satis enim illud tritum est Sermone Proverbium, 
In Cubiculo Nola." Magius de Tintinnabulis, pp. 7. 8. 

s Spelm. Gloss, v. CAMPANA. 

h Antiq. of the Christian Church, vol. i. p. 316. 

* Josephus. 

k See Dr. Smith's Account of the Greek Church. He was an eye-witness of this remarkable 
Custom, which Durand tells us is retained in the Romish Church on the three last Days of the 
Week preceding Easter. Durandi Rationale. 

Bingham informs us of an invention before Bells for convening religious assemblies in Monas- 
teries : it was going by turns to every one's Cell, anil with the knock of a Hammer calling the 
Monks to Church. This instrument was called the Night Signal and the Wakening Mallet. In 
many of the Colleges at Oxford the Bible-Clerk knocks at every Room door with a Key to waken 
the Students in the morning, before he begins to ring the Chapel Bell. A vestige, it should seem, 
of the antient monastic custom. 

132 BELLS. 

Baronius 1 informs us that Pope John the thirteenth, A. D. 968. consecrated 
a very large new cast Bell in the Lateran Church, and gave it the name of John. 
This is the first instance I meet with of what has been since called " the bap- 
tizing of Bells," a superstition which the Reader may find ridiculed in the 
Romish Beehive m . The vestiges of this Custom may be yet traced in England, 
in Tom of Lincoln, and Great Tom, (" the mighty Tom,") at Christ-Church in 

Egelrick, Abbot of Croyland, about the time of King Edgar, cast a Ring of 
six Bells, to all which he gave names, as Bartholomew, Bethhelm, Turketul, 

1 "Cum vero post hsec Johannes Papa in urbem rediisset, contigit primariam Lateranensis 
Ecclesise Campanam mirae magnitudinis, recens acre fusam, super Campanile elevari, quam prius 
idem pontifex sacris ritibus Deo consecravit atque Johannis nomine nuncupavit." Baronii Annal. 
a Spondano. A. D. 968. p. 871. 

m Romish Bee Hive, p. 17. 

In Coates's Hist, of Reading, 4to. 1S02. p. 214. in the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Laurence's 
Parish, anno 14 Hen. VII. 1499. is the following article : "It. payed for halowing of the Bell 
named Harry, vjs. viijd. and ovir that SirWillm Symys, Richard Clech, and Maistres Smyth, beyng 
Godfaders and Godmoder at the Consecracyon of the same Bell, and beryng all oth' costs to the 

Mr. Pennant, speaking of St. Wenefride's Well, (in Flintshire,) says : " A Bell belonging to the 
Church was also christened in honour of her. I cannot learn the names of the Gossips, who, as 
usual, were doubtless rich persons. On the Ceremony they all laid hold of the Rope; bestowed a 
name on the Bell ; and the Priest, sprinkling it with holy water, baptized it in the name of the 
Father, &c. &e. he then cloathed it with a fine garment. After this the Gossips gave a grand feast, 
and made great presents, which the Priest received in behalf of the BelL Thus blessed it was en- 
dowed with great powers ; allayed (on being rung) all storms ; diverted the Thunder-bolt ; drove 
away evil Spirits. These consecrated Bells were always inscribed. The inscription on that in 
question ran thus : 

' Sancta Wenefreda, Deo hoc commendare memento, 
Ut pietate sua, nos servet ab hoste cruento.' 
And a little lower was another Address, 

' Protege prece pia quos convoco, Virgo Maria'." 

Delrio, in his Magical Disquisitions, Lib. vi. p. 527. denies that Bells were baptized : " Recte 
docuit Cardinalis Hosius Campanas non baptizari sed benedici. Legant ipsum Pontificale Ro- 
manum : de Baptismo nihil invenient. Legant Alcuinum Flaccum, & reperient haec verba, ' Neque 
novum videri debet Campanas benedicere ei ungere et els nomen imponere.' Eu tibi vere et integre 
ritum totum, an hoc est baptizare r" 


&c. n The Historian tells us his predecessor Turketul had led the way in this 

fancy . 

The Custom of rejoicing with Bells on high festivals, Christmas Day, &c. is 
derived to us from the times of Popery P. The ringing of Bells on the arrival of 

" " Fecit ipse fieri duas magnas Campanas quas Bartholomseum et Bettelmum cognominavit, et 
duas medias quas Turketulum et Tatvinum vocavit, et duas minores quaa Pegam et Begam appel- 
lavit. Fecerat antea fieri Dominus Turketulus Abbas unam maximum Campaaam nomine Guth- 
lacum, quoe cum predictis Campanis fuit composita fiebat mirabilis Harmonia, nee erat tune talis 
consonantia Campanarum in tota Anglia." Historia Ingulphi. Rerum Anglicar. Script. Vet. torn. L 
fol. 1684. p. 53. 

" Collier's Ecclesiastical History, vol. i. p. 193. 

f Durand tells us, " In fcstis quse ad gratiam pertinent, Campana? tumultuosius tinuiunt et pro- 
lixius concrepant." Rationale, Lib. i. cap. 4. 12. 

In the account we have of the Gifts made by St. Dunstan to Malmesbury Abbey, it appears that 
Bells were not very common in that age, for he says the liberality of that Prelate consisted chiefly 
in such things as were then wonderful and strange in England, among which he reckons the 
large Bells and Organs he gave them. An old Bell at Canterbury took twenty-four men to ring it; 
another required thirty-two men ad sonandum. The noblest peal of ten Bells, without exception, 
in England, whether tone or tune be considered, is said to be in St. Margaret's Church, Leicester. 
When a full Peal was rung, the Ringers were said pulsare Classicum. 

Bells were a great object of superstition among our Ancestors. Each of them was represented 
to have its peculiar name and virtues, and many are said to have retained great affection for the 
Churches to which they belonged, and where they were consecrated. When a Bell was removed 
from its original and favourite situation, it was sometimes supposed to take a nightly trip to its 
old place of residence, unless exercised in the evening, and secured with a chain or rope. Mr. 
Warner, in his Topographical Remarks on the S. W. Parts of Hampshire, vol. ii. p. 162. thus 
enumerates the virtues of a Bell, in a translation of the two last lines quoted in p. 130. from the 
" Helpe to Discourse." 

Men's deaths I tell The sleepy head 

By doleful knell. I raise from bed. 

Lightning and thunder The winds so fierce 

I break asunder. I doe disperse. 

On Sabbath all Men's cruel rage 

To Church I call. I doe asswage. 

In Barnabe Googe's Translation of the " Regnum Papisticum" of Naogeorgus, we have the fol- 
lowing Lines on Belles. 

" If that the thunder chaunce to rore, and stormie tempest shake, 
A wonder is it for to see the Wretches how they quake. 

134 BELLS. 

Emperors, Bishops, Abbots, &c. at places under their own jurisdiction was also 

Howe that no fayth at all they have, nor trust in any thing, 

The Clarke doth all the Belles forthwith at once in Steeple ring : 

With wond'rous sound and deeper farre, than he was wont before. 

Till in the loftie heavens darke, the thunder bray no more. 

For in these christned Belles they thinke, doth lie such powre and might 

As able is the Tempest great, and storme to vanquish quight. 

I sawe my self at Numburg once, a Towne in Toring coast, 

A Bell that with this title bolde hirself did proudly boast : 

By name I Mary called am, with Sound I put to flight 

The Thunder-crackes and hurtful! Stormes, and every wicked Spright. 

Such things when as these Belles can do, no wonder certainlie 

It is, if that the Papistes to their tolling alwayes flie. 

When haile, or any raging Storme, or Tempest comes in sight, 

Or Thunder Boltes, or Lightning fierce, that every place doth smight." 

The Popish Kingdome, fol. 41 b. 

In 1464. is a Charge in the Churchwardens' Accounts of Sandwich for bread and drink for 
" ryngers in the gret Thunderyng." 

In a curious Book entitled " The Burnynge of Paules Church in London, 1561. and the 4th of 
June, by Lyghtnynge, &c." 12mo. Lond. 1561. Signal. G. 1. we find enumerated, among other 
Popish Superstitions : " ringinge the hallowed Belle in great Tempestes or Lightninges." 

Aubrey, in his Miscellanies, p. 1 18. says : " At Paris when it begins to thunder and lighten, 
they do presently ring out the great Bell at the Abbey of St. Germain, which they do believe 
makes it cease. The like was wont to be done heretofore in Wiltshire. When it thundered and 
lightened, they did ring St. Adelm's Bell at Malmesbury Abbey. The curious do say that the ring- 
ing of Bells exceedingly disturbs Spirits." 

Our forefathers, however, did not entirely trust to the ringing of Bells for the dispersion of 
Tempests, for in 1313 a Cross, full of Reliques of divers Saints, was set on St. Paul's Steeple, to 
preserve from all danger of Tempests. 

I find the for owing in a Newspaper: " Berlin, Nov. 3, 1783. It is long since the learned in 
Natural History have apprized the world of the danger there is of ringing Bells on the approach 
and duration of a Thunder-storm. But how hard it is to root out popular prejudices ! What sound 
reason could not effect, royal authority has brought about. His Majesty, by a late ordinance, 
directs, that the prohibition against ringing Bells, &c. on such occasions be read publicly in all 
the Churches throughout his dominions." 

Dr. Francis Hering, in " Certaine Rules, Directions, or Advertisments for this Time of pestilen- 
tiall Contagion," 4to. Lond. 1625. Signat. A. 4 b. advises: " Let the Bells in Cities and Townes 
be rung often, and the great Ordnance discharged j thereby the aire is purified." 

BELLS. 135 

an old Customi. Whence we seem to have derived the modern Compliment 
of welcoming persons of consequence by a cheerful peal r . 

At Newcastle upon Tyne, the tolling of the great Bell of St. Nicholas' Church 
there has been from antient times a signal for the Burgesses to convene on 
Guild Days, or on the Days of electing Magistrates 5 . 

1 " Campanarum pulsatio in adventu Episcoporum et Abbalum in Eccleaias quse iis subditae 
sunt, in Charta compositionis inter Archiepiscopum Cantuar. & Abbat. S. Aug Cantuar. apud Will. 
Thorn, p. 1882. 1883. Mon. Ang. torn. iii. p. 164. Matth. Paris, an. 1245. p. 463. &c. v. Du 
Cange. voce CAMPANA. 

" Tradit Continuator Nangii, An. 1378. Carolum IV. Imperatorem cum in Galliam venit, 
nullo Campanarum sonitu exceptnm in urb'bus, quod id sit signum dominii : " Et cst assavoir 
que en la dite Ville, et semblablement par toutes les autres Villes, ou il a este", tant en venant a 
Paris, comme en son retour, il n'a este" receu en quelque Eglise a procession, ni Cloches sonnies 
it son venir, ne fait aucun Signe de ijuelque Domination ne seigneurie, &c." vid. Du Cange, 
Gloss, ut supra. 

There is a passage in Fuller's Hist, of Waltham Abbey, A. D. 1542. 34 Hen. VIII. relative to the 
wages of Bell Ringers : it is preserved in the Churchwardens' Account : " Item, paid for the ring- 
ing at the Prince his coining, a Penny *." 

[Bishop Rennet, in one of his manuscripts, says : " Non pulsare Cavnpanas in adventu Epis- 
copi signum contemplus et vilipendii manifeste, pro quo vicarius citatur ad respondend. Anno 
1444. Reg. Alnewyk Episc. Line ] 

r " Antient Ceremonies used throughout the Kingdome, continued from antiquity till the days 
of our last Fathers, that whensoever any Noble man or Peere of the Realme passed through any 
Parish, all the Bells were accustomed to be runge in honor of his person, and to give notice of 
the passage of such eminency and when their Letters were upon occations read in any Assemblies, 
the Commons present would move their Bonnets, in token of reverence to their names and persons." 
Smith's Berkeley MSS. vol. ii. p. 363. 

It begins at nine o'clock in the morning, and with little or no intermission continues to 
toll till 3 o'clock, when they begin to elect the Mayor, &c. Its beginning so early was doubtless 
intended to call together the several Companies to their respective Meeting-houses, in order to 
chuse the former and latter Electors, &c. A popular notion prevails that it is for the old Mayor's 
dying, as they call his going out of office : the tolling as it were of his passing Bell. 

Mr. Ruffhead, in his Preface to the Statutes at large, speaking of the Folc-mote Comitatus, or 
Shire-mote, and the Folc-mote Civitatis, vel Burgi, or Burg-mote, says : ' Besides these annual 
Meetings, if any sudden contingency happened, it was the duty of the Aldermen of Cities and 
Boroughs to ring the Bell called in English Mot-bell, in order to bring together the people to 
the Burgmote,' &c. See Blount's Law Dictionary, . MOT-BEL. 

* In Coates's Hist, of Reading, 4to. Lontl. 1802. p. 213. under the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Laurence's 
Parish, is the following article : sub anno 1514. " It. payd for a Galon of Ale, for the Ryugers, at the death of 
tkt Kyng of Scots. \}d." 


The little Carnival on Pancake Tuesday commences by the same signal *. A 
Bell, usually called the Thief and Reever v Bell, proclaims the two annual Fairs 
of that Town. A peculiar kind of alarm is given by a Bell on accidents of Fire. 
A Bell is rung at six every morning, except Sundays and Holidays, with a view, 
it should seem, of calling up the Artizans to their daily employment. The inha- 
bitants retain also a vestige of the old Norman Curfew at eight in the evening u . 

' See vol. i. p. 72. 

Reever, a Robber. To reeve, to spoil or rob. Speght's Glossary to Chaucer. 

" I find the following in Peshall's History of the City of Oxford, p. 177. " The Custom of ringing 
the Bell at Carfax every night at eight o'clock, (called CURFEW BELL, or Cover Jire Bell,j was by 
order of King Alfred, the restorer of our University, who ordained that all the inhabitants of Oxford 
should, at the ringing of that Bell, cover up their fires and go to bed, which Custom is observed 
to this day, and the Bell as con^antly rings at eight, as Great Tom tolls at nine. It is also a 
Custom, added to the former, after the ringing and tolling this Bell, to let the Inhabitants know 
the day of the Month by so many Tolls." 

The Curfew is commonly believed to have been of NORMAN origin. A Law was made by 
William the Conqueror that all people should put out their fires and lights at the eight o'clock 
Bell, and go to bed. See Seymour's edit, of Stow's Survey of Lond. Book i. cap. 15. The 
practice of this Custom we are told, to its full extent, was observed during that and the follow- 
ing reign only. Thomson has inimitably described its tyranny : 

" The shiv'ring wretches, at the Curfew sound, 
Dejected sunk into their sordid beds, 
And, through the mournful gloom of ancient times, 
Mus'd sad, or dreamt of better." 

In the second Mayoralty of Sir Henry Colet, Knt. (father of Dean Colet,) A. D. 1495, and under 
his direction, the solemn Charge was given to the Quest of Wardmote in every Ward, as it stands 
printed in the Custumary of London : 

" Also yf ther be anye paryshe Clerke that ryngeth Curfewe after the Curfewe be ronge at Botce 
Chyrche, or Saint Brydes Churche, or Saint Gyles without Cripelgat, all suche to be presented." 
Knight's Life of Dean Colet, p. 6. 

In the Articles for the Sexton of the Parish of Faversham agreed upon and settled in 22 Hen. 
VIII. (preserved in Jacob's History of that Town, p. 172.) we read : " Imprimis, the Sexton, or hi 
sufficient deputy, shall lye in the Church-steeple ; and at eight o'clock every night shall ring the 
Curfewe by the space of a quarter of an hour, with such Bell as of old time hath been accustomed." 

In Mr. Lysons's Environs of London, vol. i. p. 232. is the following extract from the Church- 
wardens' and Chamberlains' Accounts of Kingston upon Thames : 

"1651. For ringing the Curfew Bell for one Year, gg\ 100." 

BELLS. 137 

The Bells at Newcastle upon Tyne arc muffled on the thirtieth of January 
every year. For this practice of muffling I find no precedent of antiquity. 

I find, however, in the old Play of The Merry Devil of Edmonton, 4to. 1C31. that the Curfew 
was sometimes rung at nine o'clock ; thus the Sexton says : 

" Well, 'tis nine a clocke, 'tis tune to ring Curfew." 

Shakspeare, in King Lear, act iii. sc. 4. has fixed the C'urfeu at a different time : 
Edgar. " This is the foul fiend Flibbertigibbet i He begins at Curfew and walks to the 

first Cock." See Grey's Notes on Shakspeare, vol. ii. p. 281. 

In Bridges's Hist, of Northamptonshire, vol. i. p. 110. speaking of Byfield Church, the author 
tells us : "A Bell is rung here at four in the morning, and at eight in the evening, for which the 
Clerk hath 20s. yearly, paid him by the Rector/' 

A Bell was formerly rung at Newcastle upon Tyne, also, at four in the morning, 
In Hutchins's Dorset, vol. ii. p. 267. the author, speaking of Mapouder Church, mentions Land 
given " to find a Man to ring the Morning and Curfeu Bell throughout the year." Also, Ibid, 
p. 422. under Ibberton, is mentioned one Acre given for ringing the eight o'clock Bell, and \ 
for ringing the Morning Bell. 

Macaulay, in his History and Antiquities of Claybrook in Leicestershire, Svo. Lond. 1791. 
p. 128. says : " The Custom of ringing Curfew, which is still kept up at Claybrook, has probably 
obtained without intermission since the days of the Norman Conqueror." 

We find the Covrefeu mentioned as a common and approved regulation. It was used in most 
of the Monasteries and Towns of the North of Europe, the intent being merely to prevent the 
accidents of fires. All the common houses consisted at this time of timber. Moscow, therefore, 
being built with this material, generally suffers once in twenty years. That this happened equally 
in London, Fitzstephen proves : " Solas pestes Lundonia? sunt Stultorum immodica potatio, et 
frequens Incendium." The Saxon Chronicle also makes frequent mention of Towns being burned, 
which might be expected for the same reason, the Saxon term for building being jecimbpian *. 

The Hon. Daines Barrington, in his Observations on the Antient Statutes, p. 153, tells us : "Curfew 
is written Curphour in an old Scottish Poem, published in 1770, with many others from the MS. of 
George Bannatyne, who collected them in the year 1568. It is observed in the annotations on 
these Poems, that by Act 144. Parl. 13. Jam. I. this Bell was to be rung in Boroughs at nine in 

So, Henry, in hi History of Britain, 4to. vol. iii. p. 567, tells us : " The custom of covering up their Fires 
about sun-set in Summer, and about eight at night in Winter, at the ringing of a Bell called the Couvre-fcu or 
Curfew Bell, is supposed by some to have been introduced by William I. and imposed upon the English as a 
badge of servitude. But this opinion doth not seem to be well founded. For there is sufficient evidence that 
the same Custom prevailed in France, Spain, Italy, Scotland, and probably in all the Countries of Europe, it) 
this period; and was intended as a precaution against Fires, which were then very frequent and very fatal, when 
co many Houses were built of wood." 


138 BELLS. 

Their sound is by this means peculiarly plaintive*. The inhabitants of that 
Town were particularly loyal during the Parliamentary Wars in the grand Re. 
bellion, which may account for the use of this Custom, which probably began 
at the Restoration. 

the evening ; and that the hour was afterwards changed to ten, at the solicitation of the Wife of 
James Stewart, the favourite of James the sixth." 

There is a narrow street in the Town of Perth, in Scotland, still called Couvre-Feu-Row, leading 
West to the Black Friars, where the Couvre Feu Bell gave warning to the Inhabitants to cover 
their fires and go to rest when the Clock struck Ten." Muses Threnodie. Note. p. 89. 

" At Rippon, in Yorkshire, at nine o'clock every evening, a Man blows a large Horn at the 
Market Cross and then at the Mayor's door." Gent. Mag. for Aug. 1790. vol. Ix. p. 719. 

w Jn " Campanologia, or the Art of Ringing," 4th edit, corrected, 12mo. Lond. 1753. p. 200. 

we have : 

" A Funeral or Dead Peal. 

"It being customary not only in this City of London, upon the death of any person that is a 
Member of any of the honourable Societies of Ringers therein, (but likewise in most Countries and 
Towns in England, not only upon the death of a Ringer, but likewise of any young Man or 
Woman,) at the Funeral of every such person to ring a Peal ; which Peal ought to be different 
from those for mirth and recreation, (as the musick at the Funeral of any Master of Musick, or the 
Ceremony at the Funeral of any person belonging to military discipline,) and may be performed 
two different ways : the one is by ringing the Bells round at a set pull, thereby keeping them up 
so as to delay their striking, that there may be the distance of three notes at least, (according to 
the true compass of ringing upon other occasions,) between Bell and Bell; and having gone 
round one whole pull every Bell, (except the Tenor,) to set and stand ; whilst the Tenor rings 
one pull in the same compass as before ; and this is to be done whilst the person deceased is 
bringing to the ground; and after he is interred, to ring a short Peal of round ringing, or 
Changes in true time and compass, and so conclude. The other way is call'd buffeting the Bells, 
that is, by tying pieces of Leather, old Hat, or any other thing that is pretty thick, round the 
ball of the clapper of each Bell, and then by ringing them as before is shewn, they make a most 
doleful and mournful sound : concluding with a short Peal after the Funeral is over, (the clappers 
being clear as at other times :) which way of buffeting is most practis'd in this City of London." 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 306. says : " Ringing of Bells is one 
of their great delights, especially in the Countiy. They have a particular way of doing this ; but 
their Chimes cannot be reckoned so much as of the same kind with those of Holland and the Low 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. x. 8vo. Edinb. 1794, p. 511. Parish of Inverkeithing, 
in the County of Fife, we read: " In this Parish is the Castle of Rosyth, almost opposite to Hope- 
ton House. It is built upon rock, and surrounded by the sea at full tide. Upon the South side, 
near the door, is this inscription, pretty entire and legible : 



called in the North of England 


The word Lake-Wake is plainly derived from the Anglo Saxon Lie or Lice, 
a Corpse, and Wzecce, a Wake, Vigil, or Watching. It is used in this sense by 
Chaucer in his Knight's Tale : 

" Shall not be told by me 
How that Arcite is brent to ashen cold, 
Ne how that there the Liche-Wake was yhold 
All that night long." 

Thus also, under the word Walkin, in Ruddiman's Glossary to Douglas's Vir- 
gil, we read : " Proper Like Wakes (Scotch) are the Meetings of the Friends of 
the deceased, a night or nights before the Burial b . 

" In dev time drav yis Cord ye Bel to clink 
Qvhais mery voce varnis to-Meat and Drink. 1 ' 

Dates about the building, 1561 and 1C39. Yet " it cannot now be ascertained by whom it was 
built, or at what time." 

a They were wont, says Bourne, chap. ii. to sit by the Corpse from the time of death till its ex- 
portation to. the Grave, either in the House it died in, or in the Church itself. To prove this he 
cites St. Austin, concerning the watching the dead Body of his mother Monica ; and Gregory 
Turon. concerning that of St. Ambrose, whose body was carried into the Church the same hour 
he died. 

b [Dr. Jamieson says : " This antient custom most probably originated from a silly superstition 
with respect to the danger of a corpse being carried off by some of the agents of the invisible 
World, or exposed to the ominous liberties of brute animals. But, in itself, it is certainly a decent 
and proper one ; because of the possibility of the person, considered as dead, being only in a 
swoon. Whatever was the original design, the lik-wake seems to have very early degenerated int 


That watching with the Corpse was an antient custom every where practised, 

.a scene of festivity extremely incongruous to the melancholy occasion." Etymolog. Diet, of the 
Scot. Language, v. LYK WAIK.] 

Mr. Pennant, in describing Highland ceremonies, says : "The Late Wake is a Ceremony used at 
Funerals. The Evening after the death of any person, the Relations or Friends of the deceased 
meet at the House attended by a Bag-pipe or Fiddle : the nearest of kin, be it wife, son, or daugh- 
ter, opens a melancholy Ball, dancing, and greeting, i. e. crying violently at the same time ; and 
this continues till day-light, but with such Gambols and Frolicks among the younger part of the 
Company, that the loss which occasioned them is often more than supplied by the consequences 
of that night. If the Corps remain unburied for two nights the same rites are renewed. Thus, 
Scythian like they rejoice at the deliverance of their Friends out of this Life of Misery." He tells 
Us in the same place that the Coranich or singing at Funerals is still in use in some places. The 
Songs are generally in praise of the deceased, or a recital of the valiant deeds of their ancestors." 
Tour in Scotl. 1?69. p. 112. 

" In North Wales," says Mr. Pennant's MS. to often quoted in the former Volume of this Work, 
(speaking of the Manners of the eighteenth Century,) " the Night before a dead body is to be in- 
terred, the friends and neighbours of the deceased resort to the House the corpse is in, each bring- 
ing with him some small present of Bread, Meat, Drink, (if the family be something poor ;) but 
more especially Candles, whatever the Family be : and this Night is called wyl n&s, whereby the 
country people seem to mean a Watching Night. Their going to such a House, they say is, i wilior 
corph, i. e. to watch the corpse ; but wylo signifies to weep and lament, and so wyl nos may be a 
night of lamentation : while they stay together on that night they are either singing Psalms, or 
reading some part of the Holy Scriptures. 

" Whenever^any body comes into a Room where a dead Body \yes, especially the wyl nAs and 
the day of its Interment, the first thing he does, he falls on his knees by the Corps, and says the 
Lord's Prayer." 

In "The Irish Hudibras," a Burlesque of Virgil's Story of /Eneas going down to visit his father 
in the Shades, 8vo. Lond. 1689. p. 34. is the following Description of what is called in the margin 
" An Irish Wake" 

" To their own Sports, (the Masses ended,) 
The Mourners now are recommended. 
Some for their pastime count their Beads, 
Some scratch their Breech, some louse their Heads ; 
Some sit and chat, some laugh, some weep ; 
Some sing Cronans*, and some do sleep; 
Some pray ; and with their prayers mix curses j 
Some vermin pick, and some pick purses j 



numerous passages from Ecclesiastical Writers might be cited to prove, could 

Some court, some scold, some blow, some puff, 

Some take Tobacco, some take snuff; 

Some play the Trump, some trot the Hay, 

Some at Macham *, some Noddy play ; 

With all the Games they can devise ; 

And (when occasion serves 'em) cries. 
Thus did mix their Grief and Sorrow, 
Yesterday bury'd, kill'd to-morrow." 

[An Account of the Wake, less overcharged, will be read with pleasure from the Glossary of 
" Castle Rackrent," by Maria Edgeworth, 5th edit. 8vo. Lond. 1810. p. 214. " In Ireland a Wake 
is a midnight meeting, held professedly for the indulgence of holy sorrow, but usually it is convert- 
ed into orgies of unholy joy. When an Irish man or woman of the lower order dies, the straw which 
composed his bed, whether it has been contained in a bag to form a mattress, or simply spread 
upon the earthen floor, is immediately taken out of the house, and burned before the cabin door, 
the family at the same time setting up the death howl. The ears and eyes of the neighbours being 
thus alarmed, they flock to the house of the deceased, and by their vociferous sympathy excite and 
at the same time sooth the sorrows of the family. 

" It is curious to observe how good and bad are mingled in human institutions. In countries 
which were thinly inhabited, this custom prevented private attempts against the lives of indi- 
viduals, and formed a kind of Coroner's Inquest upon the body which had recently expired, and 
burning the straw upon which the sick man lay became a simple preservative against infection. At 
night the dead body is waked ; that is to say, all the friends and neighbours of the deceased collect 
in a barn or stable, where the corpse is laid upon some boards, or an unhinged door, supported 
upon stools, the face exposed, the rest of the body covered with a white sheet. Round the body 
are stuck in brass Candlesticks, which have been borrowed perhaps at five miles distance, as many 
candles as the poor person can beg or borrow, observing always to have an odd number. Pipes 
and Tobacco are first distributed, and then, according to the ability of the deceased, Cakes and 
Ale, and sometimes Whiskey, are dealt to the company : 

' Deal on, deal on, my merry men all, 

Deal on your Cakes and your Wine, 
For whatever is dealt at her funeral to-day 
Shall be dealt to-morrow at mine.' 

" After a fit of universal Sorrow, and the comfort of an universal dram, the scandal of the neigh- 
bourhood, as in higher Circles, occupies the company. The young lads and lasses romp with one 
another ; and when the fathers and mothers are at last overcome with sleep and whiskey (vino et 

* A Game at Cards. 


there be any doubt of the antiquity of a Custom , which, owing its origin to the 
tenderest affections of human nature, has perhaps on that account been used 
from the infancy of Time d . 

sonuw) the youth become more enterprizing, and are frequently successful. It is said that more 
matches are made at Wakes than at Weddings."] 

See also the Survey of the South of Ireland, 8vo. p. 210. 

In the Gent. Mag. for Aug. 1771. vol. xli. p. 351. it is said of a Girl who was killed by Lightning 
in Ireland, that she could not be waked within doors, an expression which is explained as alluding 
to a Custom among the Irish of dressing their dead in their best cloaths, to receive as many Visitors 
as please to see them ; and this is called keeping their Wake. The Corpse of this Girl, it seems* 
was so offensive, that this Ceremony could not be performed within doors." 

c Hutchinson, in his History of Cumberland, vol. i. p. 553. speaking of the parish ofWhitbeck, 
says : " People always keep tea&ewith the dead." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, Parish of Cruden, Aberdeenshire, vol. v. p. 435. we read : 
" Of all those who attended the Late Wake of a person who died of a putrid Feaver, not one escaped 
catching the infection :" and a Note tells us that the Late Wake is a practice common in many 
parts of Scotland, and not yet exploded here, of people sitting up all night with the dead corps, in 
the chamber of the deceased." 

Ibid. vol. xv. p. 372. Parish of Campsie, co. of Stirling, we read: "It was customary for them 
to have at least two Lyke-Wakes (the Corpse being kept two nights before the Interment) where 
the young Neighbours watched the Corpse, being merry or sorrowful, according to the situation 
or rank of the deceased." 

Waldron in his Description of the Isle of Man, (Works, fol. p. 170.) says that " When a person 
dies, several of his acquaintance come to sit up with him, which they call the Wake. The Clerk 
of the Parish is obliged to sing a Psalm, in which all the Company join ; and after that they 
begin some pastime to divert themselves, having strong beer and tobacco allowed them in great 
plenty. This is a Custom borrowed from the Irish, as indeed are many others much in fashion 
with them. 

[" The Lik-Wake is retained in Sweden, where it is called Wakstuga, from wak-a to watch, and 
perhaps stuga, a room, an apartment, or cottage. Ihre observes, that ' although these^ Wakes should 
be dedicated to the contemplation of our mortality, they have been generally passed in plays and 
compotations, whence they were prohibited in public Edicts.' v. WAKE." Jamieson's Etymolog. 
Diet, of theScot. Lang. v. LYK-WAIK."] 

d Duraud cites one of the antient Councils, in which it is observed that Psalms were wont to be 
sung, not only when the Corpse was conducted to Church, but that the antients watched on the 
Night before the Burial, and spent the Vigil in singing Psalms. " Porro observandum est, nedum 
Psalmos cani consuetum, cum funus ducitur, Bed etiam Nocte qme-jpecedit funus, veteres vigi- 


The abuse of this Vigil, or Lake Wake is of pretty old standing. The tenth 
Canon at the provincial Synod held in London temp. Edw. III. in Collier's Eccle- 
siast. History, vol. i. p. 546. " endeavours to prevent the disorders committed 
at people's Watching a Corps before Burial. Here the Synod takes notice that 
the design of people's meeting together upon such occasions, was to join their 
prayers for the benefit of the dead person; that this antient and serviceable 
usage was overgrown with Superstition and turned into a convenience for theft 
and debauchery : therefore, for a remedy against this disorder, 'tis decreed, that, 
upon the death of any person, none should be allowed to watch before the 
Corpse in a private House, excepting near Relations and Friends of the de- 
ceased, and such as offered to repeat a set number of Psalms for the benefit of 
his Soul." The penalty annexed is Excommunication. This is also mentioned 
in Becon's Reliques of Rome, and comprized in the Catalogue of Crimes that 
were antiently cursed with Bell, Book, and Candle. 

Bourne complains of the Sport, Drinking, and Lewdness used at these Lake 
Wakes in his time. They still continue to resemble too much the antient 
Bacchanalian Orgies. An instance of Depravity that highly disgraces Human 
Nature. It would be treating this serious Subject with too much Levity, to say, 
that if the inconsiderate wretches who abuse such solemn Meetings, think at all, 
they think with Epicurean licentiousness that since Life is so uncertain, no Op- 
portunity should be neglected of transmitting it, and that the loss, by the death 
of one relation, should be made up by the birth of another. 

lasse nocturnasque vigilias canendis Psalmis egisse." p. 232. So also St. Gregory in the Epistle 
treating of the death of his sister Macrina, says : " Cum igitur nocturna Pervigilalio, ut in Mar- 
tyrum celebritate canendis Psalmis perfecta esset, et Crepusculum advenisset," &c. Ibid. 

It appears that among the primitive Christians the Corpse was sometimes kept four days. 
Pelagia, in Gregory of Turon. requests of her son, " ne earn ante diem quartum scpeliret." 



Durand gives a pretty exact Account of some of the Ceremonies used at lay- 
ing out the Body, as they are at present practised in the North of England, 
where the laying out is called Streeking a . He mentions the closing of the Eyes b 

* To streek, to expand, or stretch out, from the Anglo Saxon repecan, extendere. See Benson's 
Anglo Saxon Vocabulary in verbo. A streeking Board is that on which they stretch out and com- 
pose the Limbs of the dead body. 

Mr. Gough, in the Introduction to his second Volume of Sepulchral Monuments in Great Bri- 
tain, p. ccv. citing Lowe's MS History of Orkney, says : " Funeral Ceremonies in Orkney are 
much the same as in Scotland. The Corpse is laid out after being stretcht on a Board till it is 
coffined for burial. I know not for what reason they lock up all the Cats of the House, and cover 
nil the Looking Glasses as soon as any person dies ; nor can they give any solid reason." 

It by no means seems difficult to assign a reason for locking up the Cats on the occasion; 
it is obviously to prevent their making any depredations upon the Corpse, which it is known they 
would attempt to do if not prevented. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xxi. p. 147. Parish of Monquhitter, we read : "It 
disturbed the Ghost of the dead, and was fatal to the living, if a Tear was allowed to fall on a 
Winding Sheet. What was the intention of this, but to prevent the effects of a Wild or Frantic 
Sorrow ? If a Cat was permitted to leap over a Corpse, it portended Misfortune. The meaning of 
this was to prevent that carnivorous Animal from coming near the Body of the deceased, lest, when 
the Watchers were asleep, it should endeavour to prey upon it, &c." These notions appear to have 
been called in Scotland " Frets." 

In " Wits, Fits, and Fancies," 4to. Lond. 1614. p. 186. is the following, alluding to the practice 
of laying out, or streeking the Body : " One said to a little Child, whose Father died that Morning, 
and was layd out in a Coffin in the Kitchen, Alas ! my prety Child, thy Father is now in heaven : 
the Child answered, Nay, that he is not : for he is yet in the Kitchen." 

Laying out the Corpse is an office always performed by Women, who claim the Linen, &c. about 
the person of the deceased at the time of performing the Ceremony. It would be thought very 
unlucky to the Friends of the person depaited, were they to keep back any portion of what is thus 
found. These women give this away in their turn by small divisions ; and they who can obtain any 
part of it, think it an Omen or Presage of future good Fortune to them or theirs. 

b The Face-Cloth too is of great antiquity. Mr. Strutt tells us that after the closing of the Eyes, &c. 
a Linen Cloth was put over the Face of the dec-eased. Thus we are told that Henry the fourth, in 


and Lips, the decent, washing , dressing, and wrapping up in a winding Sheet u 
or linen Shroud e : of which Shroud Prudentius thus speaks : 

" Candore nitentia claro 
Prastendere lintea mos estf. 

Hymn, ad Exequias Defunct. 

The Interests of our Woollen Manufactures have interfered with this antienl 
Rite in England s. 

his last illness, seeming to be dead, his Chamberlain covered his face with a Linen Cloth." Engl. 
/Era, p. 105. 

c Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 89. mentions, under the head of Fu- 
nerals, " the washing the Body throughly clean, and shaving it, if it be a man, and his beard be 
grown during his sickness." 

* Stafford, in his Niobe, or his Age of Teares, 12mo. Lond. 1611. p. 162. says : " I am so great 
an Enemie to Ceremonies, as that 1 would onelie wish to have that one Ceremonie at my Buriall, 
which I had at my Birth ; I mean, swadling : and yet I am indifferent for that too." 

" Quinetiam Sanctorum Corpora, manibus erectis supinisque excipere, occludere oculos, ora 
obturare, decenter ornare, lavare accurate, et linteo funebri involvere, &c." Durand. de Iliti- 
bus. p. 224. 

We have the very Coffin of the present age described in Durand. " Corpus lotum et sindone ob- 
volutum, ac Loculo conditum, Veteres in coenaculis, seu Tricliniis exponebaut." p. 225. Looulus 
is a Box or Chest. Thus in old Registers I find Coffins called Kists, i. e. Chests. See Mr. Cough's 
Sepulchr. Monuments, vol. ii. Introd. p. 5. 

' " The Custome is to spread abroad 

White Linens, grac'd with splendour pure." 

Beaumont's Translation. 

e Misson, speaking of Funerals in England, says : " There is an Act of Parliament which ordains 
that the Dead shall be buried in a Woollen stuff, which is a kind of a thin Bays, which they call 
Flannel ; nor is it lawful to use the least needleful of thread or Silk. (The intention of this Act is, for 
the encouragement of the Woollen Manufacture.) This Shift is always white ; but there are differ- 
ent sorts of it aa to fineness, and consequently of different prices. To make these dresses is a particu- 
lar Trade, and there are many that sell nothing else.' ' The Shirt for a Man " has commonly a Sleeve 
purfled about the wrists, and the slit of the Shirt, down the breast, done in the same manner. This 
hould be at least half a foot longer than the Body, that the feet of the deceased may be wrapped 
in it, as in a Bag. Upon the head they put a Cap, which they fasten with a very broad chin-cloth j 
with Gloves on the hands, and a cravat round the neck, all of Woollen. The Women have a 
kind of head-dress with a Fore-head cloth." Travels in Engl. translated by Ozell. p. 88. He adds, 
p. 90. " that the Body may ly the softer, some put a lay of bran, about four inches thick, at the 


It is customary at this day in some parts of Northumberland, to set a pewter 
Plate, containing a little SALT, upon the Corps. 

A CANDLE, too, is sometimes set upon the Body, in like manner 9 . 

Salt, says the learned Moresin, is the Emblem of Eternity and Immortality. 
It is not liable to putrefaction itself, and it preserves things that are seasoned 
with it from decay b . 

bottom of the coffin. The coffin is sometimes very magnificent. The Body is visited to see that it 
is buryed in flannel, and that nothing about it is sowed with Thread. They let it lye three or 
four days." 

3 In Articles to be enquired of, within the Archdeaconry of Yorke, by the Churchwardens and 
Sworne Men, A. D. 163 (blank) 4to. Lond. 163 . I find the following curious Item : " Whe- 
ther at the Death of any, there be any superstitious burning of Candles over the Corps in the Day 
after it be light." By the blank left in the Date of this Tract after the 3 there appear to have 
been as many Copies ordered to be printed at once, as would last till the year 1640. The last figure 
to be filled up occasionally in writing. It is printed in black Letter. 

8 " Salem abhorrere constat Diabolum, et ratione optima nititur, quia Sal ./Eternitatis est et 
Immortalitatis Signum, neque putredine neque corruptione infestatur unquam, sed ipse ab his om- 
nia vendicat." Moresini Papatus, p. 154. 

Considered in reference to this symbolical Explication, how beautiful is that expression : " Ye 
are the Salt of the Earth !" 

Reginald Scot, in his Discourse concerning Devils and Spirits, p. 16. cites Bodin, as telling us 
that " the Devil loveth no Salt in his Meat, for that is a sign of Eternity, and used by God's com- 
mandment in all Sacrifices." 

Mr. Douce says, the Custom of putting a Plate of Salt upon Corpses is still retained in many parts 
of England, and particularly in Leicestershire, but it is not done for the reason here given. The 
pewter Plate and Salt arc laid on the Corpse with an intent to hinder air from getting into the 
Bowels and swelling up the Belly, so as to occasion either a bursting, or, at least, a difficulty in 
closing the Coffin. See Gent. Mag. for 1785. vol. Iv. pp. 603. 760. 

Dr. Campbell, in his Philosophical Survey of the South of Ireland, edit. 1777. p. 210. mentions 
this Custom as obtaining in Ireland, and says, that the Plate of Salt is placed over the Heart. It 
'should seem as if he had seen Moresin's Remark, by his supposing that they consider the Salt 


The same Author gives us also his Conjecture on the use of the Candle upon 
this occasion c : 

" It was an Egyptian Hieroglyphic for Life, meant to express here the 

as the emblem of the incorruptible part. "The Body itself," says he, "being the Type of 

Mr. Pennant, in his Tour in Scotland, tells us, that on the death of a Highlander, the Corpse 
being stretched on a Board, and covered with a coarse Linen Wrapper, the Friends lay on the 
breast of the deceased a wooden platter, containing a small quantity of Salt and Earth, separate 
and unmixed. The Earth an Emblem of the corruptible Body; the Salt an emblem of the im- 
mortal Spirit. All fire is extinguished where a Corpse is kept : and it is reckoned so ominous for 
a Dog or Cat to pass over it, that the poor animal is killed without mercy. 

From the following passage in "A Boulster Lecture," 8vo. Lond. 1640. p. 139. the Corpse ap- 
pears antiently to have been stuck with Flowers : " Marry another, before those flowers that stuck 
his Corpse be withered." 

The following is in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 394. 

" The Soul w the Salt. 

The Body's salt the Soule is, which when gone. 
The flesh soone sucks in putrifaction." 

In the same Work, p. 5. is a Copy of Verses " To Perilla," abounding with tender allusion* to 
the funeral Customs of his time : 

" 'Twill not be long (Perilla) after this 

That I must give thee the supremest Kisse : 

Dead when 1 am, first cast in Salt, and bring 

Part of the Creame from that religious Spring ; 

With which (Perilla) wash my hands and feet ; 

That done, then wind me in that very sheet 

Which wrapt thy smooth limbs (when thou didst implore 

The God's protection, but the night before) 

Follow me weeping to my Turfe, and there 

Let fall a Primrose, and with it a teare : 

Then lastly let some weekly-strewings be 

Devoted to the memory of me : 

Then shall my Ghost not walk about, but keep 

Still in the coole and silent shades of Sleep." 

e " Lucerna, seu Candela mortuis cadaveribus semper apponitur in domibus et templis, quam- 
diu supra Terrain sunt, & frequenter toto anno post humationem. An hinc ducto more, oculo, 
vel Lucerna incensa veteres Egyptii vitam significabant, unde veteres soliti sunt lucernas ardentes 


ardent desire of having had the Life of the deceased prolonged." 

sepulchris * imponere, hac saltern ratione significantes se mortuorum quamdiu possent vitas pro- 
ducturos. Moresini Papatus, p. 89. 

" Jubet Papa cadaveris expiationes fieri, ut quod valde immundum est, aspergatur aqua bene- 
dicta, thurifieetur, exorcisetur sacris Orationibus, illustrctur sacris luminibus, quousque supra 
Terram fuerit, &c." Ibid. p. 26. 

[In Levi's Account of the Rites and Ceremonies of the modern Jews, we read : p. 163. that when 
any of the sick among that people have departed, the corpse ig taken and laid on the ground, and 
a pillow put under its head ; and the hands and feet are laid out even, and the body is covered 
over with a black cloth, and a light is set at its head."] 

It appears from Scogin's Jests (new edit. Svo. 1796.) p. 4. that in Henry the eighth's time it was 
the Custom to set two burning Candles over the dead Budt/. The passage is curious, as illustrative 
of more Customs than one : " On Maundy-Thursday, Scogiu said unto his Chamber-fellow, we 
will make our Maundy, and eat and drink with advantage : be it, said the Scholar. On Maundy- 
Thursday at night they made such chear that the Scholar was drunk. Scogin then pulled off all the 
Scholar's cloaths, and laid him stark naked on the Rushes, and set a form over him, and spread a 
coverlet over it, and set up two tallow Candies in Candlesticks over him, one at his head, the other 
at his feet, and ran from Chamber to Chamber, and told the fellows of that place that his Chamber- 
fellow was dead." Adding, " I pray you, go up, and pray for his soul ; and so they did. And 
when the Scholar had slept his first sleep, he began to turn himself, and cast down the Form and 
the Candles. The fellows seeing that Scogin did run first out of the Chamber, were afraid, and 
came running and tumbling down ready to break each others neck. The Scholar followed them 
stark naked; and the fellows seeing him run after them like a Ghost, some ran into their Cham- 
ber, some into one corner, and some into another. Scogin ran into the Chamber to see that the 
Candles should do no harm, and at last fetched up his Chamber-fellow, who ran about like a Mad- 
man, and brought him to bed, for which matter Scogin had rebuke." 

In the Life of Henrietta Maria, 12mo. Lond. 1669. p. 3. we read : " On the 25th of June 1610. 
she was carried with her Brother to perform the Ceremony of casting Holy-water on the Corps of 
her dead Father (Henry the Fourth of France,) who was buried the 28th following." 

* Thus Pope, conversant in Papal Antiquities : 

" Ah hopeless lasting Flames ! like those that burn 
To light the dead, and warm th* unfruitful urn." 

Eloisa to Abelard. 





These funeral Entertainments are of very old date. Cecrops is said to have 
instituted them for the purpose of renewing decayed Friendship amongst old 
Friends, &c. Moresin tells us that in England in his time they were so profuse 
on this occasion, that it cost less to portion off a Daughter, than to bury a dead 
Wife*. These Burial Feasts are still kept up in the North of England, and are 
there called Arvals or Arvils b . The Bread distributed on these occasions is called 
Arvil Bread. The Custom seems borrowed from the antients, amongst whom 
many examples of it are collected by Hornman in his Treatise de Miraculis 

" Convivia funebria Cecrops primus instituit prudenter, ut Aniici amicitiam fortasse remis- 
sam renovarent, et pro uno defuncto acquirerent his mediis plures amicos, &c. In Anglia ita 
strenue lianc curam obeunt, ut viliori pretio constet elocatio Filiae, (juatn Uxoris mortuae Inhuma- 
tio." Moresini Papatus, &c. p. 44. 

Gougb, in the Introduction to the second Volume of his Sepulchral Monuments in Great Bri- 
tain, says : " An Entertainment or Supper, which the Greeks called n.^Jarvov, and Cicero Cir- 
compotatio, made a part of a Funeral, whence our practice of giving Wine and Cake among the 
rich, and Ale among the poor." 

The Ancients had several kinds of Suppers made in honour of the deceased. First, that which 
was laid upon the funeral Pile, such as we find in the 23d Book of Homer, and the 6th ./Eneis of 
Virgil, Catullus Ep. Iv. Ovid. Fasti, ii. Secondly, the Supper given to the Friends and Relations at 
their return from the Funeral ; as in the 24tli Book of Homer's Ilias, in honour of Hector. This 
kind of Supper is mentioned in Lucian's Treatise of Grief, and Cicero's third Book of Laws. 
Thirdly, the Silicernium, a Supper laid at the Sepulchre, called 'Exa? $umm. Others will have it 
to be a Meeting of the very old Relations, who went in a very solemn manner after the Funeral, 
and took their leaves one of the other, as if they were never to meet again. The fourth was called 
Epulum Novendiale. 

b This word occurs in the provincial Poem, stil'd " Yorkshire Ale :" 

" Come, bring my Jerkin, Tibb, I'll to the Arvil, 
Yon man's ded seny scoun, it makes me marvill. p. 58. 


Mortuorum, Cap. 36. Juvenal in his fifth Satire, 1. 85. mentions the Coena 

Hutchinson, in his History of Northumberland, vol. ii. ad finem, p. 20. thus mentions the 
Arvel Dinner: "On the decease of any person possessed of valuable effects, the friends and neigh- 
bours of the Family are invited to dinner on the Day of Interment, which is called the Arthel 
or Arvel Dinner. Arthel is a British word, and is frequently more correctly written Arddelw. 
In Wales it is written Arddel, and signifies, according to Dr. Davises Dictionary, asserere to avouch *. 
This Custom seems of very distant Antiquity, and was a solemn Festival, made at the time of 
publicly exposing the corps, to exculpate the Heir and those entitled to the possessions of the 
deceased, from Fines and Mulcts to the Lord of the Manor, and from all accusation of having 
used violence ; so that the persons then convoked might avouch that the person died fairly and 
without suffering any personal injury. The dead were thus exhibited by antient Nations, and per- 
haps the Custom was introduced here by the Romans." 

It was customary, in the Christian Burials of the Anglo Saxons, to leave the head and shoulders 
of the corpse uncovered till the time of Burial, that relations, &c. might take a last view of their 
deceased friend. To this day we yet retain (in our way) this old custom, leaving the coffin of the 
deceased unscrewed till the time of Burial. See Strutt's Manners and Customs, vol. i. p. 66. 

Among the Extracts from the Berkeley MSS. read before the Society of Antiquaries, the follow- 
ing occasioned a general smile : " From the time of the death of Maurice the fourth Lord Berke- 
ley, which happened June 8, 1368, untill his interment, the Reeve of bis Manor of Hinton spent 
three quarters and seaven bushells of beanes in fatting one hundred geese towards his funeral!, 
and divers other Reeves of other Manors the like, in geese, duckes, and other pultry." 

In Strype's Edition of Stow's Survey of London, book i. p. 259, we read, from Registr. Lend. 
" Margaret Atkinson, widow, by her will, October IS, 1544, orders that the next Sunday after 
her Burial there be provided two dozen of bread, a kilderkin of ale, two gammons of bacon, three 
shoulders of mutton, and two couple of rabbits. Desiring all the parish, as well rich as poor, to 
take part thereof; and a table to be set in the midst of the church, with every tiling necessary 

A. D. 1556, at the Funeral of Sir John Gresham, Knight, Mercer, the church and streets were 
all hung with black, and arms, great store. A sermon was preached by the Archdeacon of Can- 
terbury, "and after, all the company came home to as great a dinner as had been seen for a fish day, 
for all that came. For nothing was lacking." 

Ibid. At the funeral of Thomas Percy, 1561, late Skinner to jQueen Mary, he was "attended to 
his burial in Saint Mary Aldermary church, with twenty black gowns and coats, twenty clerks 
singing, &c. The Floor strewed with rushes for the chief mourners. Mr. Crowley preached. Af- 

* [Bishop Kennet in his MS Glossary (MS. Lansd.) defines drvel Bread, " Bread distributed at Funerals, 
which Mr. Nicholson derives from Sax. Apf\}\\, pius, religiosus ; more probably from Sax. jnp, jpjre, hereditas. 
ypjre boc the last Will, which nominates the heir, and disposes the inheritance. Yjife rbol sedes hereditaria. 
Island. Arft'ur h<ereditas, Goth. Arbia hares, Arbi hcereditas."] 


feralis, which was intended to appease the ghosts of the dead, and consisted of 

tervvards was a great dole of money ; and then all went home to a dinner. The company of Skin- 
ners, to their Hall, to dine together. At this Funeral, all the mourners offered : and so did the 
said company." 

A. D. 1562, at the Funei-al of Sir Humphrey Brown, Knight, Lord Chief Justice, Dec. 15, Mr. 
Reneger made the Sermon, and after, they vent home to a great dinner. The church was hung 
with black, and arms. The helmet and crest were offered (on the Altar), and after that his target; 
after that his sword ; then his coat-armour ; then his standard was offered, and his penon : and 
after all, the mourners, and judges, and Serjeants of the law, and servants, offered." 

Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man, (Works, fol. p. 170,) says: "As to their Fune- 
rals, they give no invitation, but every body that had any acquaintance with the deceased comes, 
either on foot or horseback. I have seen sometimes, at a Manks Burial, upwards of an hundred 
horsemen, and twice the number on foot: all these are entertained at long- tables, spread with all 
sorts of cold provision, and rum and brandy flies about at a lavish rate." 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 91, under the head of Funerals, 
says : " Before they set out, and after they return, it is usual to present the guests with something 
to drink, either red or white wine, boiled with sugar and cinnamon, or some other such liquor. 
Every one drinks two or three cups. Butler, the keeper of a tavern, (the Crown and Sceptre in 
St. Martin's Street,) told me that there was a tun of red port wine drank at his wife's Burial, be- 
sides mull'd white wine. Note, no men ever go to womens Burials, nor the women to mens, 
so that there were none but women at the drinking of Butler's wine." 

In the Minute Book of the Society of Antiquaries of London, July 21, 1725, vol. i, p. 169, we 
read: " Mr. Anderson gave the Society an account of the manner of a Highland Lord's Funeral. 
The body is put into a litter between two horses, and, attended by the whole clan, is brought to 
the place of Burial in the churchyard. The nearest relations dig the grave, the neighbours hav- 
ing set out the ground, so that it may not encroach on the graves of others. While this is per- 
forming, some hired women, for that purpose, lament the dead, setting forth his genealogy and 
noble exploits. After the body is interred, a hundred black cattle, and two or three hundred 
sheep,, are killed for the entertainment of the company." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vi. p. 487, Parish of Kincardine, County of Perth, 
we read : " The desire of what is called a decent Funeral, i. e. one to which all the inhabitants of 
the district are invited, and at which every part of the usual entertainment is given, is one of the 
strongest in the poor. The expence of it amounts nearly to two pounds. This sum, therefore, 
every person in mean circumstances is anxious to lay up, and he will not spare it, unless reduced 
to the greatest extremity. 

E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires ! Gray. 

Ibid. vol. ix. p. 543. Complaints occur against the expensive mode of conducting Burials in 
the parish of Dunlop, in Ayreshire. It is pointed out as an object of taxation. 


milk, honey, water, wine, olives, and strewed flowers. The modern Arvals, 

Ibid. vol. x. p. 469, Parish of Lochbroom, County of Ross. "At their Burials and Marriages," 
we are told, the inhabitants " too much adhere to the folly of their ancestors. On these occasions 
they have a custom of feasting a great number of their friends and neighbours, and this often at 
an expence which proves greatly to the prejudice of poor orphans and young people : although 
these feasts are seldom productive of any quarrels or irregularities among them." 

Ibid. vol. xv.-Svo. Edinb. 1795, p. 372, Parish of Campsie, County of Stirling, we read : "It 
was customary, till within these few years, when any head of a family died, to invite the whole 
parish : they were served on boards in the barn, where a prayer was pronounced before and after 
the service, which duty was most religiously observed. The entertainment consisted of the fol- 
lowing parts : first, there was a Drink of Ale, then a Dram, then a piece of Short-bread, then 
another dram of some other species of liquor, then a piece of Currant-bread, and a third Dram, 
either of spirits or wine, which was followed by Loaves and Cheese, Pipes and Tobacco. This 
was the old Funeral Entertainment in the parish of Campsie, and was stiled their Service: and 
sometimes this was repeated, and was then stiled a Double Service ; and it was sure of being re- 
peated at the Dredgy. A Funeral cost, at least, a hundred pounds Scots, to any family who fol- 
lowed the old course. The most active young man was pointed out to the office of Server; and, 
in those days, while the manners were simple, and at the same time serious, it was no small ho- 
nour to be a Server at a Burial. However distant any part of the parish was from the place of 
Interment, it was customary for the attendants to carry the corpse on hand spokes. The mode of 
invitation to the Entertainment was, by some special messenger; which was stiled bidding to the 
Burial, the form being nearly in the following words : 'You are desired to come to such-a-one's 
Burial to-morrow, against ten hours.' No person was invited by letter ; and, though invited 
against ten of the clock, the corpse never was interred till the evening : time not being so much 
valued in those days." 

Ibid. vol. xviii. 8vo. Edinb. 1796. p. 123. Parish of Gargunnock, County of Stirling: "The 
manner of conducting Funerals in the Country needs much amendment. From the death to the 
Interment, the House is thronged by Night and Day, and the Conversation is often very unsuit- 
able to the occasion. The whole parish is invited at 10 o'clock in the forenoon of the day of the 
Funeral, but it is soon enough to attend at 3 o'clock in the Afternoon. Every one is entertained 
with a variety of Meats and Drinks. Not a few return to the Dirge, and sometimes forget what 
they have been doing and where they are. Attempts have been lately made to provide a remedy 
for this evil ; but old Customs are not easily abolished. 

Ibid. p. 174. Parish of Carmunnock, County of Lanark, the Minister, the rev. Mr. Adam 
Forman, tells us : " We must mention a Custom, which still prevails and which certainly ought to 
be abolished. It is usual, in this Parish, as in many other parts of Scotland, when a death has 
taken place, to invite on such occasions the greater part of the Country round, and though called 
to attend at an early hour in the forenoon, yet it U generally towards evening, before they think 
of carrying forth the Corpse to the Churchyard for Interment. While, on these occasions, the 


however, are intended to appease the Appetites of the living, who have, upon 

good Folks are assembled, though they never run into excess, yet no small expence is incurred by 
the family : who often vie with those around them, in giving, as they call it, an honourable 
burial to their deceased friend. Such a Custom is attended with many evils, and frequently in- 
volves in debt, or reduces to poverty many Families otherwise frugal and industrious, by this piece 
of useless parade, and ill-judged expence." 

In " Whimsies, or a New Cast of Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1631. p. 89. speaking of a Laun- 
derer, the author says : " So much she hath reserved out of the labours of her life, as will buy 
some small portion of Diet Bread, Comfits, and Burnt Claret, to welcome in her Neighbours now at 
her departing, of whose cost they never so freely tasted while she was living*." 

Ibid. p. 195. in describing a yealous (jealous) Neighbour, the author concludes with observing : 
' r Meate for his Funerall Pye is shred, some few ceremoniall Teares on his Funerall Pile are shed ; 
but the Wormes are scarce entered his shroud, his Corpse Flowers not fully dead, till this yealous 
Earthworme is forgot, and another more amorous, but lesse yealous, mounted his Bed. 

Mons. Jorevin, who travelled to England in the beginning of King Charles the second's reign, 
speaking of a Lord's Burial at Shrewsbury, which his Host procured him a sight of, tells us : 
" The Relations and Friends being assembled in the house of the defunct, the Minister advanced 
into the middle of the Chamber, where, before the Company, he made a Funeral Oration, represent- 
ing the great actions of the deceased, his virtues, his qualities, his title of Nobility, and those of 
the whole Family, &c. It is to be remarked, that during the Oration, there stood upon the Coffin 
a large Pot of Wine, out of which every one drank to the health of the deceased. This being finished, 
six Men took up the Corps, and carried it on their shoulders to the Church," &c. Antiq. Repert. 
vol. ii. p. 105. 

A Writer in the Gent. Mag. for March 1780. vol i. p. 129. says : " Our ancient Funerals, as well 
as some modern ones, were closed with Merry Makings, at least equal to the preceding sorrow, 
most of the Testators directing, among other things, Pictuals and Drink to be distributed at their 
Exequies; one in particular, I remember, orders a sum of money for a drinking for his Soul." 

Another Writer, apparently describing the manners of Yorkshire, vol. Ixviii. p; 573. for July 
1798. says : " At Funerals, on which occasions a large party is generally invited, the Attendant 
who serves the Company with Ale or Wine has upon the handle of the Tankard a piece of Lemon- 
Peel, and also upon her left arm a clean white Napkin. I believe these Customs are invariably 
observed. From what cause they originated, some ingenious Correspondent may be able to in- 
form me." 

" In Northern Customs Duty was exprest 
To Friends departed by their Fun'ral Feast. 
Tho" I've consulted Hollingshead and Stow, 
I find it very difficult to know 
Who to refresh th' Attendants to the Grave, 
Burnt Claret first, or Naples-Bisket gave." 

King': Art of Cookery, p. 0' . 



these occasions, superseded the Manes of the dead. An allusion to these feasts 
occurs in Hamlet, Act i. sc. 2. who, speaking of his Mother's Marriage, says: 

" The funeral baVd Meats 

Did coldly furnish forth the Marriage Tables^." 

By the following extract, Wafers appear to have been used at Funeral Entertainments : "1671. 
Jan. 2. died Mr. Cornelius Bee, bookseller in Little Britain. Buried 4 Jan. at St. Bartholomew's, 
without Sermon, without Wine or WAFERS ; onely Gloves and Rosemary." Peck's Desiderata 
Curiosa, vol. ii. p. 549. from MS. Sloan. No. 8S6. A Catalogue of Persons deceased between 1628 
and 1675, by one Smith, a Secondary of the Poultry Compter. 

In Dudley Lord North's Forest of Varieties, fol. Lond. 1645. p. 105. is the following: "Nor 
ere all Banquets (no more than Musick) ordained for merry humors, some being used even at 

In Pleasant Remarks on the Humors of Mankind, 12mo. p. 62. cciii. we read : " 'Tis common in 
England for Prentices, when they are out of their time, to make an entertainment, and call it the 
Burial of their Wives. Many Aldermen would do the like, was it consistent with common decency, 
at the departure of theirs." 

Again, p. 83. cclxxv. " How like Epicurists do some persons drink at a Funeral, as if they were 
met there to be merry, and make it a matter of rejoycing that they have got rid of their Friends 
and Relations." 

Richard Flecknoe, in his ^Enigmatical Characters, 8vo. Lond. 1665. p. 14. speaking of " a cu- 
rious Glutton," observes on his fondness for feasting as follows : " In fine, he thinks of nothing 
else, as long as he lives, and, when he dyes, ouely regrets that Funeral Feasts are quite left off", 
else he should have the pleasure of one Feast more, (in imagination at least,) even after death ; 
which he can't endure to hear of, onely because they say there is no eating nor drinking in the 
other World." 

Books, by way of Funeral Tokens, used to be given away at the Burials of the better sort in 
England. In my Collection of Portraits I have one of John Bunyan, taken from before an old 
edition of his Works, which 1 bought at Ware, in Hertfordshire. It is thus inscribed on the back 
in MS. " Funeral Token in remembrance of Mr. Hen.Plomer, who departed this life Oct. 2, 1696. 
being 79 years of age, and is designed to put us that are alive in mind of our great change. Mr. 
Daniel Clerk the elder his book, Oct. 23, 1696." 

In the Athenian Oracle, .vol. iii. p. 114. a Querist asks : " Whether Books are not more proper 
to be given at Funerals, than Bisquets, Gloves, Rings, &c. ?" And it is answered : " Undoubtedly 
a Book would be a far more convenient, more durable, and more valuable present, than what are 
generally given, and more profitably preserve the Memory of a deceased Friend." 

d In Reed's edit, of Shakspeare, vol. xviii. p. 43. there is the following Note on this passage by 
Mr. Steevens : 

" It was anciently the general Custom to give a cold Entertainment to Mourners at a Funeral. 
In distant Counties this practice is continued among the Yeomanry." 



The following is extracted from Mr. Bagford's Letter relating to the Antiqui- 
ties of London, printed in the first volume of Leland's Collectanea, p. Ixxvi. 
It is dated Feb. 1, 1714-5. 

" Within the memory of our Fathers, in Shropshire, in those villages adjoyn- 
ing to Wales, when a person dyed, there was notice given to an old Sire, (for 
so they called him,) who presently repaired to the place where the deceased lay, 
and stood before the door of the house, when some of the Family came out and 
furnished him with a Cricket, on which he sat down facing the door. Then 
they gave him a Groat, which he put in his pocket; a Crust of Bread, which he 
eat; and a full bowle of Ale, which he drank off at a draught. After this, he 
got up from the Cricket and pronounced, with a composed gesture, the ease 
and rest of the Soul departed, for which he would pawn his own Soul. This 
I had from the ingenious John Aubrey, Esq. who made a Collection of curious 
Observations, which I have seen, and is now remaining in the hands of Mr. 
Churchill, the bookseller. How can a Man think otherwise of this, than that 
it proceeded from the ancient Heathens ?" 

[Aubrey's Collection, here mentioned, was most probably the " Rernaines of 
Gentilisme and Judaism," still preserved among the Lansdowne Manuscripts in 
the British Museum ; whence the following remarks on this subject, in Mr. Au^ 
brey's own hand, have been extracted. 

See the Tragique Historic of the faire Valeria of London, 1598. " His Corpes was with funeral! 
pompe conveyed to the Church and there solemnly enterred, nothing omitted which necessitie or 
custom could claime: a Sermon, a Banquet, and like observations." 

Again, in the old Romance of Syr Degore, 6. 1. no date ; 

" A great Feaste would he holds 

Upon his Queue's Mornynge Day, 

That was buryed in an Abbay." 

See also Hayward'i Life and Relgne of King Henry the fourth, 4to. 1599. p. 135. " Then he^ 
(King Richard II.) was conveyed to Langley Abby in Buckinghamshire, and there obscurely in- 
terred, without the charge of a Dinner for celebrating the Funeral." 


" In the County of Hereford was an old Custome at Funeralls to hire poor 
People, who were to take upon them the Sinnes of the Party deceased. One 
of them, (he was a long, leane, ugly, lamentable poor Raskal,) I remember lived 
in a Cottage on Rosse high-way. The manner was, that when the Corps was 
brought out of the House, and layd on the Biere, a Loafe of Bread was brought 
out, and delivered to the Sinne Eater, over the Corps, as also a Mazar Bowie, 
of Maple, full of Beer, (which he was to drink up,) and Sixpence in money ; 
in consideration whereof he took upon him, ipso facto, all the Sinnes of the de- 
funct, and freed him or her from walking after they were dead. This custome 
alludes, methinks, something to the Scape-Goate in the old Lawe, Levit. chap, 
xvi. v. 21, 22. '.And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live 
Goate, and confesse over him all the iniquities of the Children of Israel, and 
all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the Goat, 
and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the Wilderness. And 
the Goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a Land not inhabited : and 
he shall let the Goat goe into the Wilderness.' 

" This Custome, (though rarely used in our dayes ) yet by some people was 
observed even in the strictest time of the Presbyterian Government, as at Dyn- 
der, (volens nolens the Parson of the Parish,) the kindred of a Woman deceased 
there had this Ceremonie punctually performed, according to her Will : and, 
also, the like was done at the City of Hereford in those times, where a Woman 
kept, many yeares before her death, a Mazard Bowie for the Sinne-Eater; and 
the like in other places in this Countie : as also in Brecon 1 . I believe this Cus- 
tom was heretofore used all over Wales b .] 

1 ["E.g. at Llanggors, where Mr. Gwin, the Minister, about 1640. could not hinder the per- 
formance of this ancient Custome." 

b MS. Lansd. 2<26. fol. 116. In another page, Mr. Aubrey says : " A. D. 1CS6. This Custom is 
used to this day in North Wales :" where Milk seems to have been the substitute for Beer. 

Bishop Kennet, in whose possession Aubrey's Manuscript appears to have been, has added this 
Note. " It seems a remainder of this Custom which lately obtained at Amersden in the County of 
Oxford, where at the burial of every Corpse, one Cake and one Flaggon of Ale, just after the 
interment, were brought to the Minister in the Church Porch."] 



The Payment of Mortuaries is of great antiquity. It was antiently done by 
leading or driving a Horse or Cow, &c. before the Corps of the deceased at his 
Funeral. It was considered as a Gift left by a Man at his death, by way of 
recompence for all failures in the payment of Tithes and Oblations, and called 
a Corse-present. 

It is mentioned in the National Council of Ensham about the year 1006. 

Some Antiquaries have been led into a mistake by this leading of a Horse 
before the Corps, and have erroneously represented it as peculiar to military 
characters a . 


on that occasion in the Hand, 
together with 


Bourne tells us c that the Heathens followed the Corps to the Grave, because 

" See Collier's Ecclesiast. History, vol. i. p. 487. 

Mortuaries were called by our Saxon Ancestors Saul rceac. [Soul shot, or payment."] See a 
curious account of them in Dugdale's Hist, of Warwickshire., 1st edit. p. 679. See also, dowel's 
Law Interpreter in voce, and Sclden's History of Tithes, p. 287. 

" Offeringes at Burialles" are condemned in a List of " Grosse Poyntes of Poperie, evident to all 
Men," in a most rare Book in quarto, p. 63. entitled " A Parte of a Register, contayninge sundrie 
memorable Matters, written by divers godly and learned in our time, whiche stande for and desire 
the Reformation of our Church in Discipline and Ceremonies, accordinge to the pure Worde of 
God and the Lawe of our Lande." This work is said by Dr. Bancroft to have been printed at 
Edinburgh by Robert Waldegrave, who printed most of the Puritan Books and Libels in the latter 
end of Queen Elizabeth's reign. 

b Graves were antiently called PYTTES. See Strutt's Manners and Customs, vol. iii. p. 172. 

c Antiquitates Vulgares, chap. iii. 


it presented to them what would shortly follow, how they themselves should be 
so carried out to be deposited in the Grave d . 

d " Precedent! Pompa funebri, vivi sequuntur, tanquam baud multo post morituri." Alex, ab 
Alexand. lib. iii. p. 67. Et Polyd. Verg. lib. vi. c. 10. p. 405. 

So, in Langley's Translation of Polydore Vergil, fol. 128. we read : " In Burials the old Rite 
was that the ded Corps was borne afore, arid the people folowed after, as one should saie we shall 
dye and folowe after hym, as their laste woordes to the Coarse did pretende. For thei used too 
aaie, when it was buried, on this wise, farewell, wee come after thee, and of the folowyng of the 
multitude thei were called Exequies." 

In " Articles to be enquired of within the Archdeaconry of Yorke, by the Churchwardens and 
Sworne Men, A. D. 163-. (any year till 1640,) 4to. Lond. 6. I. I find the following : " Whether at 
the death of any there be praying for the dead at Crosses, or places where Crosses have been, in the 
way to the Church." 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 90. speaking of Funerals, says : 
" They let the body lye three or four days, as well to give the dead person an opportunity of 
coming to life again, if his soul has not quite left his body, as to prepare mourning, and the 
Ceremonies of the Funeral." " They send the Beadle with a list of such Friends and Relations 
as they have a mind to invite ; and sometimes they have printed Tickets which they leave 
at their Houses." " A little before the Company is set in order for the march," he continues, " they 
lay the Body into the Coffin, upon two stools, in a room, where all that please may go and see it j 
then they take off the top of the Coffin, and remove from off the Face a little square piece of Flan- 
nel, made on purpose to cover it, and not fastened to any thing. Being ready to move, one or more 
Beadles march first, each carrying a long Staff, at the end of which is a great Apple, or knob of 
silver. The Body comes just after the Minister or Ministers attended by the Clerk. The Relations 
in close mourning, and all the Guests, two and two, make up the rest of the procession." 

Macaulay, in his History and Antiquities of Claybrook in Leicestershire, Svo. Lond. 1791. p. 131. 
observes ; " At the Funeral of a Yeoman, or Farmer, the Clergyman generally leads the van in the 
procession, in his canonical habiliments ; and the Relations follow the Corpse, two and two, of 
each sex, in the order of proximity, linked in each others' arms. At the Funeral of a young Man 
it is customary to have six young Women, clad in white, as Pall-bearers ; and the same number of 
young Men, with white Gloves and Hat-bands, at the Funeral of a young Woman. But these 
usages are not so universally prevalent as they were in the days of our Fathers." 

Mr. Gough, in the Introduction to his second volume of Sepulchral Monuments in Great Britain, 
p. cciv. says : " In Flintshire it is customary to say the Lord's Prayer on bringing the Corpse out 
of the House." 

At South Shields, in the County of Durham, the Bidders, i. e. the Inviters to a Funeral, never 
use the Rapper of the Door when they go about, but always knock with a Key, which they carry 
with them for that purpose. I know not whether this Custom be retained any where else. 


Christians, he adds, observe the Custom for the very same reason. And he 
further remarks, that as this form of Procession is an emblem of our dying 

The following form of inviting to Burials by the public Bellman of the Town is still, or was 
very lately, in use at Hexham, in the County of Northumberland : 

" Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. Joseph Dixon is departed, son of Christopher 
Dixon was. Their Company is desired to-morrow at five o'clock, and at six he is to be bu ri ed. 
For him and all faithful people give God most hearty Thanks." 

Grose says : " If you meet a funeral Procession, or one passes by you, always take off your Hat : 
this keeps all Evil Spirits attending the Body in good humour." 

In Dunbar (the Scottish Poet's) Will of Maister Andro Kennedy, a profligate Student, preserved 
in Andrews's History of Great Britain, &c. vol. i. p. 314. are some curious, if not profane Parodies 
oa the then Funeral Kites. 

" In die meae Sepulturs, 

I will have nane but our awn Gang *, 
Et duos rusticos de rure 

Bearand ane Barrel on a Stang, 

Drinkand and playand, cap out even, 

Sicut egomet solebam, 
Singand and greitand, with the Stevin, 

Potum meum cum fletu miscebam. 

" I will no preistis for to sing, 

Dies illae Dies Irsef, 
Nor yet no Bellis for to ring, 

Sicut semper solet fieri ; 

But a Bagpype to play a spring, 

Et unum Jlewisp ante me, 
Instead of Torches for to bring 

Quatuor Lagenas Cervisiae, 

Within the Graiv to sett, fit thing, 

In modum Crucis, juxta me, 
To flee the Feynds J, then hardly sing, 

Te Terra plasmasti me." 

There is a most concise Epitaph on a Stone that covers the Body of one of the Fellows of St. 
John's College, Oxford, in the Anti-Chapel there. It is " Prceivit," he is gone before. 

* My old Friends. t An usual Hymn at Funerals, J Instead of a Cross to drive away the Devil. 


shortly after our Friend, so the carrying in our hands of Ivy, sprigs of Laurel, 
Rosemary 6 , or other ever-greens, is an emblem of the Soul's immortality. 

The Romans and other Heathens, upon this occasion, made use of Cypress, 
which being once cut, will never flourish nor grow again, as an emblem of their 

e " To shew their love, the Neighbours far and near, 
Follow'd with wistful look the Damsel's Bier : 
Sprigg'd Rosemary the Lads and Lasses bore, 
While dismally the Parson walk'd before." 

Gay's Pastoral Dirge. 

Many instances of the use of Rosemary at Funerals are to be collected from old Writers. 
In Cartwright's Ordinary, Act v. Sc. 1. we read : 

" If there be 
Any so kind as to accompany 
My Body to the Earth, let them not want 
For Entertainment. Prythee see they have 
A Sprig of Rosemary, dipp'd in common Water, 
To smell at as they walk along the Streets." 

In the second Part of Dekkei's Honest Whore, 4to. Lond. 1630. Signat. C. 2 b. is the following 
passage : " My Winding-sheete was taken out of Lavender to be stucke with Rosemary." 

In Shirley's " Wedding," 4to. Lond. 1633. Signat. G. 4 b. Scene " A Table set forth with two 
Tapers : Servants placing Ewe, Bayes, and Rosemary , &c. Enter Beauford. 

Beau. Are these the Herbs you strow at Funerals ? 
Serv. Yes, Sir. 

Beau. ha ye not art enough 

To make this Ewe-tree grow here, or this Bayes, 
The Embleme of our Victory in Death? 
But they present that best when they are wither'd." 

It appears from the " Perfect Diurnall," from the 30th April to May 7th, 1649, that " at the 
Funeral of Robert Lockier, (who was shot for mutiny April 27th or 28th preceding, the manner 
of whose Funeral was most remarkable, considering the person to be in no higher quality than a 
private Trooper, for the late King had not half so many to attend his Corps,) the Corps was 
adorned with bundles of Rosemary on each side, one half of each was stained in Hood, and the Sword 
of the deceased with them." 

Misson, in his Travels, in continuation of a passage already quoted, says, p. 91. when the 
Funeral Procession is ready to set out, " they nail up the Coffin, and a Servant presents the Company 
with Sprigs of Rosemary ; every one takes a Sprig and carries it in his hand till the Body is put into 
the Grave, at which time they all throw in their Sprigs after it." 

In Hogarth's Harlot's Progress, at the Prostitute's Funeral, there are Sprigs of Rosemary. 


dying for ever f : but instead of that, the antient Christians used the things before 
mentioned, and deposited them under the Corps in the Grave, to signify that 

f The Reader conversant in the Classics will call to mind here the beautiful Thought in the 
Idyllium on Bion by Moschus : though the fine spirit of it will evaporate when we apply it to the 
Christian doctrine of the Resurrection. The Antithesis will be destroyed. 

A ou, to.} juaXa^ai /x!v iirav xara xairov oXaivrat, 

*H to. xXwpa o-tXiva, TO -r'niSaXts Xo unQot, 

""frtfo* 9v fuom, xal 115 ITO? aXXo ^vom* 

AMMES $' oi juryaXot xcti xapripol o-o^ol Jf E;, 

Omrwri OTpSJra Savujijf, avaxoot i ^fiouJ xoiXa 

EvSo/jLti tv jiiaXa fiaxpov a T>;/*ova nfyjuTfll UTO. 

Moschi Idyll, iii. 1. 100. 

Alas ! the meanest Flowers which Gardens yield, 

The vilest Weeds that nourish in the field, 

Which dead in wintry Sepulchres appear, 

Revive in Spring, and bloom another year : 

But we, the great, the brave, the learn'd, the wise, 

Soon as the hand of Death has clos'd our eyes, 

In Tombs forgotten lie ; no Suns restore 5 

We sleep, for ever sleep, to wake no more. Fawkes, 

The Cypress, however, appears to have been retained to later times. Coles, in his Introduction 
to the Knowledge of Plants, p. 64. says : " Cypresse Garlands are of great account at Funerallg 
amongst the gentiler sort, but Rosemary and Bayes are used by the Commons both at Funeralls 
and Weddings. They are all Plants which fade not a good while after they are gathered, and 
used (as I conceive) to intimate unto us that the remembrance of the present Solemnity might 
not dye presently, but be kept in minde for many yeares." 

The Line, " And Cypress which doth Biers adorn," 

is cited in Poole's English Parnassus, voce Witch : and Spenser mentions, 

" The Aspin, good for Staves, the Cypress funerall." 

Dekker, in his "Wonderfull Yeare," 4to. Lond. 1603. Signat. C. 3 b. describes a Charnell-house 
Pavement, " instead of greene Rushes, strewde with blasted Rosemary, wither'd Hyacinthes, fatall 
Cipresse, and Ewe, thickly mingled with heapes of dead Men's bones." He says, Signat. D. 2 b. 
" Rosemary, which had wont to be sold for twelve pence an armefull, went now" (on account of 
the Plague,) " at six shillings a handfull." 

In " Poems, by Thomas Stanley, Esquire," 8vo. Lond. 1651. p. 54. " The Exequies," we readi 

" Yet strew 

Upon my dismall Grave, 
Such Offerings as you havo, 
Forsaken Cypresse, and sad Ewe, 
VOL. II. .y 


they who die in Christ, do not cease to live ; for though as to the body, they 

For kinder Flowers can take no birth 
Or growth from such unhappy earth." 

In " The Marrow of Complements, &c." 12mo. Lond. 1655. p. 150. is " A Mayden's Song for 
her dead Lover," in which Cypress and Yew are particularly mentioned as Funeral Plants. 


" Come you whose Loves are dead, 
And, whilst I sing, 
Weepe and wring 
Every hand, and every head 

Bind with Cyprtsse, and sad Ewe, 
Ribbands black, and Candles blue ; 
For him that was of Men most true. 


" Come with heavy moaning, 
And on his Grave 
Lei him have 
Sacrifice of Sighes and Groaning, 

Let him have faire Flowers enoiigh, 
White, and Purple, Green, and Yellow, 
For him that was of Men most true." 

" Hsedera quoque, vel laurus, et hujusmodi, quae semper servant virorem, in Sareophago cor- 
pori substernuntur : ad significandum quod, si moriuntur in Christo, viverc non desinent." In 
some places, he says that Coals, Holy Water, and Frankincense, are put into the Grave. " Car- 
bones in testimonium quod Terra ilia ad communes usus amplius redigi non potest. Plus enim 
Jurat Carbo sub Terra quam aliud." The Holy Water was to drive away the Devils : the Frank- 
incense to counteract the ill smells of the Body. Durandi Rationale, lib. vii. cap. 35. 38*. 

* In the old Play of " The Fatall Dowry," 4to. Lond. 1632. Act ii. Se. 1. are some curious Thoughts on this 
subject : spoken at the Funeral of a Marshall in the Army, who died in debt, on account of which the Corps 
was arrested i 

" What weepe ye, Souldiers? 

The Jaylors and the Creditors do weepe; 

Be these thy Bodies balme : these and thy vertue 

Keepe thy Fame ever odoriferous 

Whilst the great, proud, rich, undeserving Man 

Shall quickly, both in hone and name consume, 

Though wrapt in lead, spice, seare-cloth, and perfume, 

This is a sacrifice our Showre shall crowne 

His Sepulcher with Olive, Myrrh, and Sayei, 

The Plants of Peace, of Sorrow, P'ictorie." 


die to the world, yet, as to their Souls, they live and revive to God. 

Herbs and Flowers appear to have been sometimes used at Funerals with the same intention as 
Ever-greens. In the Account of the Funeral Expences of Sir John Rudstone, Mayor of London, 
1531. 1 find the following article: " For Yerbys at the Bewryal .O 1 O." See Stmtt's Manners 
and Customs, vol. iii. p. 170. So, in a Song in " Wit's Interpreter," we read : 

" Shrouded she is from top to toe 
With Lillies which all o'er her grow, 
Instead of Bays and Rosemary." 

In Griffith's " Bethel, or a Forme for Families, &c." 4to. Lond. 1634. p. 261. speaking of a 
Woman's Attire, the author says : " By her Habit, you may give a neere guesse at her Heart. If, 
(like a Coffin,) shee be crowned with Garlands, and stuck with gay and gaudy Flowers, it is cer- 
tainc there is somewhat dead within." 

Sir Thomas Browne, in his Urne Burial, p. 56. says, that "in strewing their tombs, the Romans 
affected the Rose, the Greeks Amaranthus and Myrtle." 

To the Remarks which have been already made 1 on Ever-greens used at Funerals may be added, 
that the planting O/YEW TREES in Church Yards seems to derive its origin from antient Funeral 
Rites : in which, Sir Thomas Browne conjectures, from its perpetual verdure, it was used as an 
emblem of the Resurrection. He observes farther that the Christian custom of decking the Coflin 
with Bay is a most elegant emblem. It is said that this tree, when seemingly dead, will revive 
from the. root, and its dry leaves resume their wonted verdure. 

The Yew is called by Shakspeare, in his " Richard the second," the double fatal Yew, because 
the leaves of the Yew are poison, and the wood is employed for instruments of death. On this 
Mr. Steevens observes, that from some of the antient Statutes it appears that eveiy Englishman, 
while Archery was practised, was obliged to keep in his House cither a Bow of Yew or some 
other wood. It should seem, therefore, that Yews were not only planted in Church Yards to de- 
fend the Churches from the Wind, but on account of their use in making Bows ; while by the 
benefit of being secured in enclosed places, their poisonous quality was kept from doing mischief 
to Cattle." See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. vol. xi. p. 94. 

In " Magna Carta, &c." 12mo. Lond. 1556. Secunda Pars vetemm Statutoruni; Signal. E. 5. 
I find the Statute, " Ne Rector prosternet Arbores in Cemiterio : 

" Quoniam inter Rectores Ecclesiarutn et suos Parochianos super Arboribus crescentibus in 
Cemiterio altercationes oriri sepius intelleximus, utrisque ad se pertinere contendentibus : Hujus- 
modi altercationis dubium declarare juris seripti potius quaru statuti Juris estimamus. 

" Nam cum Ccmiterium maxime dedicatum solum sit Ecclesie, et quicquid plantatur soio, cedat ; 
sequitur necessarie Arbores ipsos debere inter facilitates ecclcsiasticas numerari, de quibus laicis 
nulla est attributa facultas disponendi : sed sicut sacra Script ura testatur, solis Sacerdotibus dis- 
positis cum indiscua a Deo coniinissa decet: verum Arlores ipse propter Ventorum impttiu ne 
Ecclesus noceant, SEPE plantantur, frohtbemus, ne Etclssiarum Rectores ipsas j>res:mant prostemere 


And as the carrying of these Ever-greens is an emblem of the Soul's immor- 

indistincte, nisi cum Cancellus Ecclesie necessaria indigent refectione. Nee in alias usus aliqualiter 
convertantur, preterquam si Navis Ecclesie indiguerit similiter refectione : et Rectores Parochianis 
indigentibus eis caritative de Arboris ipsis duxerint largiendis, quod fieri non precipimus, sed 
cum factum fuerit, commendamus." 

Barrington, in his Observations on the Statutes, p. 191. calls the above the last Statute of the 
reign of Edw. I. and observes on the passage, " that Trees in a Church Yard were often planted to 
skreen the Church from the Wind; that, low as Churches were built at this time, the thick foliage 
of Die Yew answered this purpose better tlian any other Tree. I have been informed, accordingly, 
that the Yew Trees in the Church Yard of Gyftin, near Conway, having been lately felled, the 
Hoof of the Church hath suffered excessively," 

The same Writer, Ibid. p. 424. on a regulation in the fourth Chapter of the Statute made, at 
Westminster 22 Edw. IV. A. D. 14S2. that the price of a Yew Bow is not to exceed 3s. 4d. ob- 
serves : " I should imagine that the planting Yews in Church Yards, being places fenced from 
Cattle, arose, at least in many instances, from an attention to the material from which the best 
Bo\vs are made ; nor do we hsar of such Trees being planted in the Church Yards of other parts 
of Europe. It appears by 4 Hen. V. ch. 3. that the wood of which the best Arrows were made was 
the Asp. There is a Statute so late as the Sth of Queen Elizabeth which relates to Bowyers, each 
of whom is always to have in his House fifty Bows made of Elm, Witch, Hazel, or Ash. Ch. x. 
sect. 7. 

Drayton, who is so accurate with regard to British Antiquities, informs us that the best Bows 
were made of the Spanish Yew : 

" All made of Spanish Yew, their Bows are wondrous strong." 

Polyolb. Song 26. 

By 5 Edw. IV. ch. 4. (Irish Statutes) every Englishman is obliged to have a Bow in his House* 
of his own length, either of Yew, Wych, Hasel, Ash, or Awburn, probably Alder." 

In the Gent. Mag. for Dec. 1779. vol. xlix. p. 578. a Writer, under the signature of A. B- men- 
tions the two reasons already assigned for the planting of Yew Trees in Church Yards : but he 
considers the slow growth of these Trees as an objection to the idea of their protecting the Church 
from Storms ; and the rarity of their occurrence, (it being very uncommon to meet with more 
than one or two in the same place,) an indication that they could not have been much cultivated 
for the purposes of Archery. He adds, " I cannot find any Statute or Proclamation that directs 
the cultivation of the Yew Tree in any place whatever." By different extracts from our old Sta- 
tutes, he continues, " it appears that we depended principally upon imported Bow-staves for our 
best Eows ; which one would think needed not to have been the case, if our Church Yards had 
been well stocked with Yew Trees." " The English Yew," moreover, " was of an inferior good- 
ness;" and that our brave Countrymen were forced to have recourse to foreign materials, appears 
from the following prices settled in " An Act of Bowyers," 8 Eliz. " Bows meet for Men's shoot- 


tality, so it is also of the Resurrection of the Body : for as these Herbs are not 

ing, being outlandish Yew of the best sort, not over the price of 6s. 8rf. ; Bows meet for men's shoot- 
ing, of the second sort, 3*. 4d. ; bows for men, of a coarser sort, called livery bows, 2s. ; bows 
being English Yew, 2s." 

" Gerard," he says, " mentions their growing in Church Yards where they have been planted. 
Evelyn only says, that the propagation of them has been forborne since the use of Bows has been 
laid aside." 

The hypothesis of this writer is that those venerable Yew Trees that are still to be seen in some 
of our Church Yards, were planted for no other purpose but that of furnishing Palms for Palm 
Sunday, which he thinks were no other but the Branches of Yew Trees. He adds, " that they ac- 
tually were made this use of is extremely probable, from those in the Church Yards in East Kent 
(where there are some very large and old) being to this day universally called Palms. 

Another Writer in the Gent. Mag. for Feb. 178O. T. Row. [the celebrated Dr. Pegge.] vol.1, 
p. 74. thinks the Yew Tree too much of a funeral nature to be made a substitute for the joyful 
Palm. It is also a Tree of baleful influence, whence Statius terms it 

metuendaque succo 


He conjectures that some of the Yew Trees in our Church Yards are as old as the Norman Con- 
quest, and were planted with others " for protecting the fabric of the Church from Storms," but 
that when the Statute of 35 Edw. I. A. D. 13O7. began to operate, whereby leave was given to fell 
Trees in Church Yards for building and repairs, these would be the only Trees left standing, being 
unfit for the uses prescribed, and afterwards, as an Evergreen be thought an Emblem of the Resurrec- 
tion, and even require some degree of regard and veneration. 

A. B. Ibid. p. 129. answers the above ot'T. Row, and by reasoning and facts refutes the Idea of its 
baleful influence, and as to its funeral nature observes : " When Sprigs of Yew Tree, as well as of 
other Evergreens, have been used in our funeral Ceremonies, it has not been like the Cypress of 
old, emblematical of the total extinction of the deceased, but, as is universally allowed, of his Re- 
surrection ; an idea, that, instead of being fraught with grief and despair, is, of all others, the 
most consolatory to the heart of Man." " So that there seems no reason why this Tree being 
sometimes used at Funerals, should stamp such a lugubrous mark upon it, as to render it unsuit- 
able to more joyful occasions. Ivy and Bay, that used to adorn the Brows of Poets and Con- 
querors, have not on that account been thought by the Christians of all Ages incompatible with 
funeral Solemnities." 

A Writer, J. O. Ibid. p. 168. dislikes all the reasons assigned for planting Yew-Trees in Church 
Yards, except their gloomy aspect, and their noxious quality. The first intended to add solemnity 
to the consecrated ground, the other to preserve it from the ravages of Cattle. To countenance 

his first reason, he quotes Dryden, who calls the Yew the mourner Yew, and Virgil who calls it tli 



entirely plucked up, but only cut down, and will at the returning Season, re- 

lianefvl Yew ; and to make it still more fitting for the place, adds the magic use which Shaks- 
peare makes of it in Macbeth : 

" Liver of blaspheming Jew, 

Gall of Goats, and Slips of YEW 

Silver'd in the Moon's Eclipse." 

He adds, " the great Dramatist's opinion of its noxious properties is evident from Hecate's an- 
swer to the aerial Spirit : 

' With new fall'n Dew, 
From Church Yard Yew, 
I will but 'noint, 
And then I'll mount'," &c. 

A fourth writer in the same Work, for January 1781, vol. li. p. 10. says : " We read in the Anti- 
quities of Greece and Rome, that the Branches of the Cypress and Yew were the usual signals to 
denote a House in mourning. Now, Sir, as " Death was a Deity among the Antients, (the Daugh- 
ter of Sleep and Night,) and was by them represented in the same manner, with the addition only 
of a long robe embroidered with Stars, I think we may fairly conclude that the Custom of planting 
the Yew in Church Yards took its rise from pagan Superstition, and that it is as old as the Conquest 
of Britain by Julius Caesar." 

Mr. Gough, in the Introduction to his second Volume of Sepulchral Monuments in Great Britain, 
p. 5. speaking of the Signs of Death in Houses among the Antients, notices Branches of Pine and 
Cypress, on the authority of Euripides, Hecuba. 191. 192. Suet. Aug. 101. JEn. xi. 31. He says, in 
a Note, " Will it be thought a far-fetcht conjecture that Yew Trees in Church Yards supply the 
place of Cyprus round Tombs, where Ovid, Trist. IH.xiii. 21. says they were placed. 

Warner, in his " Topographical Remarks relating to the South-Western Parts of Hampshire," 
8vo. Loud. 1793. vol.i. p. 95. speaking of Brokenhurst Church, says: " The church-yard exhibits 
two examples of enormous vegetation. A large Oak, apparently coeval with the mound on which 
it grows, measuring five and twenty feet in girth ; and a straight majestic Yew Tree. On the lat- 
ter, the Axe has committed sad depredations ; despoiling it of five or six huge branches, a cir- 
cumstance that doubtless has taken greatly from its antient dignity. Still, however, it is a noble 
Tree, measuring in girth fifteen feet, and in height upwards of sixty. I should think it might 
lay claim to an antiquity, nearly equal to its venerable neighbour *." 

* " The New-forest, and Brockenhurst in particular, (as we learn from its name,) being formerly so famous for 
the production of Yews, it might he a matter of wonder that so few remained to the present day, did we not 
recollect tha'. the old English Yi-omanry were supplied from this Tree with those excellent bows, which ren- 
dered them the best and most dreaded archers in Europe. This constant and universal demand for Yew, pro- 
duced in time such a scarcity, that recourse was had to foreign countries fur a supply: and the importation 


vive and spring up again ; so the Body like them, is but cut down for a while, 

" The common appearance of Yew Trees in almost all old Church Yards, has given rise to an 
opinion pretty generally received ; that the legislature formerly enforced the propagation of them 
in these repositories of the dead, (places not likely to be violated, particularly in times of super- 
stition) for the purpose of furnishing bow-staves ; articles of very high importance to our ancestors 
previous to the introduction of Gunpowder. The opinion is indeed strengthened by a similar tra- 
dition common among the lower ranks. I do not, however, find any injunction of this sort 5 
though it does not seem improbable that every parish might voluntarily plant Yew Trees in its 
Church Yard, as a joint stock, for the common benefit of the parishioners ; a step extremely likely 
to be adopted, at a period when every person was obliged by Act of Parliament to be furnished 
with a Bow, and Arrows * ; and when the general consumption of these articles rendered Yew 
Bows scarce and expensive f. 

" I do not however pretend to say, this was the original cause of planting Yew Trees in Christian 
Cemeteries ; the practice might be nothing more than a remnant of that superstitious worship 
paid by the antient northern nations, in their pagan state, to Trees in general, and to Oaks and 
Yews in particular : a deeply rooted habit, which for a long time infected the Christian Converts 
of the North of Europe * : or perhaps, the Yew Tree might have been placed in Church Yards, as 
an emblem of that eternal youth and vigour the soul enjoys, when its ' earthly tabernacle' is moul- 
dered into dust. 

" Its frequency, however, in these scenes of mortal decay, has rendered it, at length, a necessary 
adjunct in the poetical sketches of a Church Yard. The Yew is now become the funereal tree ; and 
the same honors are paid to it by the poets of the present age, as the Cypress enjoyed from the 
bards of Antiquity ||. Parnell, for instance, gives us 

of them was enjoined, by express acts of parliament passed for that purpose. Stat. E<1. IV. c. 2, 1 Rich. 
III. c. ii." 

" Stat. 13th Edw. I. ii. c. 6. 3d Hen. VIII. c. 3. 

f " Yew at length became so scarce (as I have hinted in a preceding note) that to prevent a too great con- 
sumption of it, bowyers were directed to make four bows of Witch-Ha^le, Ash or Elm, to one of Yew. And nu 
person under seventeen, unless possessed of moveables worth forty marks, or the son of parents having an estate 
pf ten pounds per annum, might shoot in a Yew Bow." Grose's Milit. Antiq. vol. i. p. 142. 

t " For the reverence paid to trees by the Gauls, see Pliny, Lib. xvi. c. 34. Also, a learned Disquisition on 
this subject in Keysler's Ant. Select. Septen. Hanover, 1720. p. 70. et infra. The difficulty of extirpating this ill- 
directed veneration was very great. Diu etiam post Christ! inductam religionem arborum, et lucorum cultum 
adeo invaluisse ac viguisse in tin-mania, Italia, Gallia, aliisque provinciis constat, ut in eo evellendo multum in- 
suilarint pontifices regesque, &c. Du Fresne's Gloss, vol. i. p. 193. in voc. ARBORES SACR. 

" The Yew was a funen-al Tree, the companion of the Grave, among the Celtic tribes. ' Here,' says the 
Bard, speaking of two departed Lovers, ' rests their dust, Cuthullin ! These lonely Yews sprang from their tomb, 
And shade them from the storm* '." Ossian, vol. 1. p. 240. octavo edit. 

|| It is doubtful whether the Cypress was meant by the antients, to be an emblem of an immortal state, or 
of annihilation after death) since the properties of the tree apply, happily enough, to each. The Cypress was 


and will rise and shoot up again at the Resurrection. For in the language of 
the Evangelical Prophet, our Bones' shall flourish like an Herb. 

' the Yew 
Bathing a charnel house with Dew." 

" Blair apostrophizes it thus, 

' Trusty Yew ! 

Chearless unsocial Plant, that loves to dwell 
'Midst sculls, and coffins, epitaphs, and worms.' 

" Nor could Gray compleat his picture without introducing ' the Yew Tree's shade.' 

White, in his Selborne, p. 325. says : " Antiquaries seem much at a loss to determine at what 
period this Tree first obtained a place in Church Yards. A Statute passed A. D. 1307. and 35 
Edw. I. the Title of which is " Ne Rector arbores in Cemeterio prosternat." Now if it is recollected 
that we seldom see any other very large or antient Tree in a Church Yard but Yews, this Statute 
must have principally related to this species of Tree ; and consequently these being planted in 
Church Yards is of much more antient date than the year 1307. 

" As to the use of these Trees, possibly the more respectable parishioners were buried under their 
shade before the improper Custom was introduced of burying within the body of the Church, 
where the living are to assemble. Deborah, Rebekah's Nurse, (Gen. xxxv. S.) was buried under 
an Oak ; the most honourable place of Interment, probably, next to the Cave of Machpelah, 
(Gen. xxiii. 9.) which seems to have been appropriated to the Remains of the patriarchal Family 
alone. The farther use of Yew Trees might be as a screen to Churches, by their thick foliage, 
from the violence of winds ; perhaps also for the purpose of Archery, the best long Bows being 
made of that material : and we do not hear that they are planted in the Church Yards of other 
parts of Europe, where long Bows were not so much in use. They might also be placed as a 
shelter to the Congregation assembling before the Church doors were opened, and as an Emblem 
of Mortality by their funereal appearance. In the South of England, every Church Yard, almost, 
has its Tree, and some two ; but in the North, we understand, few are to be found. The Idea of 
R. C. that the Yew Tree afforded its branches instead of Palms for the processions on Palin Sunday, 
is a good one, and deserves attention." See Gent. Mag. vol. 1. p. 128. 

In the antient Laws of Wales, given in the Cambrian Register, vol. ii. p. 332. we read, " A 
consecrated Yew, its value is a pound." Upon looking into Wotton's Leges Wallica?, fol. Lond. 
1730. p. 262. I find the following: "TAXUS Sancti libram valet ;" with the subsequent Note. 
" Sancii] Sancto nempe alicui dicata, Dubritio v. gr. vcl Tellao, quales apud Wallos in Ccemeteriis 
etiamnum frequentes visuntur." So that the above ought to be translated " A SAINT'S YEW," i. e. 
a Yew dedicated to some Saint. 

used on funereal occasions, say the commentators, ' vel quia eariem non sentit, ad gloriae immortalitatem signi- 
ncandam ; vel quia semel excisa, non reuascitur, ad mortem exprimendam. Vide Servius in Xa, III, 1. 64. and 
the IMpliin edit, on the same passage. 


Bourne cites Gregory, c. 26. as observing, that it was customary among the 
antient Jews, as they returned from the Grave, to pluck up the Grass two or 

In the account of the Parish of Burton (Preston Patrick) Westmorland, in Nicholson's and 
Burn's Westmorland and Cumberland, vol. i. p. 242. we read : " Mr. Machel takes notice of a Yew 
Tree in the Chapel Yard, which he says was very old and decayed (1692) which shews, he ob- 
serves, the antiquity of the Chapel. The Yew Tree is there yet, which shews also the longevity of 
that species of wood. These Yew Trees in Church and Chapel Yards seem to have been intended 
originally for the use of Archery. But this is only matter of conjecture : Antiquity having 
not furnished any account (so far as we have been able to find) of the design of this kind of 

The Rev. Mr. Wrighte, S.S.A. assures me, that he remembers to have read in a Book of Church- 
wardens' Accounts, in the possession of the late Mr. Littleton, of Bridgnorth, Salop, an account 
of a Yew Tree being ordered to be planted in the Church Yard for reverence sake. 

One may ask those who favour the opinion that Yews were planted in Church Yards for making 
Bows, and as being there fenced from the Cattle, are not all plantation grounds fenced from 
Cattle ? and whence is it that there are usually but one Yew Tree, or two at the most, in each 
Church Yard ? 

Sir Thomas Browne, in his Hydriotaphia, Urneburiall, p. 56. tells us, that among the 
antients, " the Funerall Pyre consisted of sweet fuell, Cypresse, Firre, Larix, YEWE, and Tree* 
perpetually verdant." And he asks, or rather observes, " Whether the planting of Yewe in Church 
Yards holds its original from antient funerall rites, or as an embleme of Resurrection from its per- 
petual verdure, may also admit conjecture." 

[Mr. Lysonsin the first Volume of the Magna Britannia, pp.254. 578. C43. 681. notices several 
Yew Trees of enormous growth in the Counties of Berks and Bucks ; particularly one at Wyrar- 
disbury in the latter county, which, at six feet from the ground, measures thirty feet five inches 
in girth. There is a Yew Tree of vast bulk at Ifley in Oxfordshire, supposed to be coeval with the 
Church ; which is known to have been erected in the twelfth century. Others of great age may 
be seen in various parts of England.] 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, Parish of Fortingal, county of Perth, vol.ii. 
8vo. Edinb. 1792. p. 456. " Among our Curiosities may be reckoned a Yew Tree in the Church 
Yard of Fortingal, fifty two feet round." 

Ibid. vol. iii. p. 144. the Minister of Dunscore, shire of Dumfries, tells us : " the old Burying 
place is not tilled. Upon one corner of it grew a large Yew Tree, which was consumed in the 
heart. Three Men have stood in it at once ; but it was overturned by the wind this season. 

Ibid. vol. iv. p, 172. Parish of Ormistoun, Co. of East Lothian., we read : " in Lord Hopetoun's 

Garden at Ormistoun Hall there is a remarkable Yew Tree. About the twentieth part of an English 

Acre is covered by it. The diameter of the Ground overspread by its branches is fifty-three feet. 

Its trunk eleven feet in circumferenoe. From the best infornlation it cannot be under two hun- 



three times and then throw it behind them, saying these words of the Psalmist, 

dred years old. It seems rather more probable to be between three hundred and four hundred 
years old." 

Ibid. vol. xvi. p. 111. '' Two Yew Trees at Ballikinrain, Parish of Killearn, co. of Stirling, at a 
distance like one Tree, cover an area of eighteen yards diameter. 

Ibid. vol. xviii. p. 328. " There is a Yew Tree in the Garden of Broich, parish of Kippen, Coun- 
ties of Perth and Stirling. The Circumference of the Circle overspread by the lower branches is a 
hundred and forty feet. It is supposed to be two hundred or three hundred years old. 

The following Song in Shakspeare's Twelfth Night, Act. ii. sc. 4. (of which our Poet gives 
this character," 

" Mark it, Cesario ; it is old and plain : 
The Spinsters and the Knitters in the Sun, 
And the free Maids that weave their thread with Bones, 
Do use to chaunt it ;" ) 
mentions the custom of sticking Yew in the Shroud .- 

" Come away, come away Death, 
And in sad Cypress let me be laid ; 

Fly away, fly away, Breath : 
I am slain by a fair cruel Maid. 
My Shroud of White, stuck all with Yew, 
O, prepare it ; 

My part of Death no one so true 
Did share it. 

Not a Flower, not a Flower sweet, 

On my black Coffin let there be strown ; &c." 

And here the reader must be again reminded that in whatever country Shakspeare lays the scene 
of his Drama he follows the Costume of his own. 

There is another in Ritson's Songs, Svo. Lond. 179O. p. 197. from the Maid's Tragedy, hy 
Beaumont and Fletcher, 1619. 

" Lay a Garland on my hearse, 

Of the dismal YEW ; 
Maidens, Willow branches bear : 

Say, 1 died true : 
My Love was false, but I was firm 

From my hour of birth : 
Upon my buried Body lie 
Lightly, gentle Earth !" 


" They shall flourish out of the City like Grass upon the Earth," which they 

In Poole's English Parnassus, the Yew has the epithets of " warlick, dismal, fatal, mortal, ve- 
nemous, unhappy, verdant, deadly, dreadful," annexed to it : these are all from old English Poets. 
Chaucer, in his Assemblie of Foules, calls it " the shooter Ewe." 

The Yew Tree is thus mentioned in " Loves Festivall at Lusts Funerall," at the end of " a Boul- 
ster Lecture," 8vo. Lond. 1640. 

" The Screch Owle frights us not, nor th' towling Bell 
Summons our vading-startling Ghosts to hell. 
Tombs, forlorne Charnels, unfrequented Caves, 
The/atoll EWE, sad sociate to Graves, 
Present no figures to our dying Eyes 
'Cause Vertue was our Gole, her praise our prize." 
The following is from Herrick's Hesperides, p. 27. 

" An look, what Smallage, Night-shade, Cypresse, Yeu>, 
Unto the Shades have been, or now are due, 
Here I devote." 

Ibid. p. 126. " To the Yew and Cypresse to grace his Funerall ," 

" Both you two have 
Relation to the Grave. : 

And where 
The Fun'ral Trump sounds, You are there.'* 

In the " Art of Longevity, or a Diseteticall Institution, written by Edmund Gayton, Bachelor in 
Physick of St. John Bapt. Coll. Oxford." 4to. Lond. 1659. p. 58. is the following passage alluding 
to St. Paul's Church Yard having been turned into an Herb Market : 

" The Ewe, sad Box, and Cypress (solemn Trees) 
Once Church-yard guests (till burial rites did cease) 
Give place to Sallads, &c." 

A credible person, who was born and brought up in a Village in Suffolk, informed me that when 
he was a Boy, it was customary there to cut sprigs and boughs of Yew Trees, to strew on the Graves 
&c. at rustic Funerals. 

In Coles's " Introduction to the Knowledge of Plants," 12mo Lond. 165G. p. 59. is an Account of 
the Leaves of Yew Trees poisoning a Clergyman's Cowcs that eat them, who seeing some Boyes 
breaking Boughs from the Yew Tree in the Church Yard, thought hhnselfe much injured. To pre- 
vent the like Trespasses, he sent one presently to cut downe the Tree and to bring it into his back 
yard." Two of the Cows feeding upon the leaves, died in a few hours afterwards, and Coles re- 
marks tliat the Clergyman had a just reward. 


did to shew, that the Body, though dead, should spring up again as the 
Grass b . 

Various are the proofs of the antient Custom of carrying out the dead with 
Psalmody in the primitive Church : in imitation of which it is still customary in 

In Collinson's History of Somersetshire, vol. i. Hundred of Abdick and Bulston, p. 13. speak- 
ing of two very large Yew Trees in the Church Yard of Ashill, the author observes in a Note, that 
" our Forefathers were particularly careful in preserving this funereal Tree, whose branches it was 
usual for Mourners to carry in solemn procession to the Grave, and afterwards" (as has been already 
noticed in p. 161.) " to deposit therein under the Bodies of their departed friends. The Branches 
thus cut off from their native stock, which was to shoot forth again at the returning Spring, were 
beautifully emblematical of the Resurrection of the Body, as by reason of their perpetual verdure, 
they were of the Immortality of the Soul." 

b [Levi, describing the Rites and Ceremonies of the Jews as they exist at present, says, p. 169. 
" The Corpse is carried forward to the grave and interred by some of the Society ; and as they go 
forth from the Burying-Ground, they pluck some Grass and say, ' They shall spring forth from the 
city, as the Grass of the Earth :' meaning at the Day of the Resurrection."] 

c Bourne, chap. iii. cites Socrates telling us " that when the Body of Babylas the Martyr, was re- 
moved by the order of Julian the Apostate, the Christians, with their Women and Children, rejoiced 
and sung Psalms all the way as they bore the Corps from Dauphne to Antioch. Thus was Paula 
, buried at Bethlehem, and thus did St. Anthony bury Paul the Hermite. 

In " The Burnynge of Paulcs Church in London, 156 1. and the 4 day of June by Lyghtnynge, &c." 
Svo. Lond. 1563. Signat. G. 6 b. we read : " In burials we do not assemble a number of priestes 
to swepe Purgatorye, or bye forgivenes of Synnes, of them whiche have no authoritye to sell, but 
accordinge to Saint Jerom's example we follow e. At_the death of Fabiola, sais he, the people of 
Ro. were gathered to the Solemnite of the Buriall. Psalmes were songe, and Alleluia sounding 
oute on height, did shake the gildet Celinges of the Temple. Here was one Companye of yonge 
menne and there another which did singe the prayses and worthy dedes of the Woman. And no 
mervaile if men rejoyce of her Salvation, of whose Conversion th' angelles in heaven be glad. 
Thus Jerom used burialls." 

Stopford, in his Pagano-Papismus, p. 282. says : " The Heathens sang their dead to their 
Graves or places of Burial. Alex. ab. Alexandro. Gen. Dier. lib. iii. cap. 7. And Macrobius affirms, 
that this custom was according to the Institutions of several Nations, and grounded upon this rea- 
son, because they believed that Souls after death returned to the original of musical sweetness, 
that is Heaven: and therefore in this Life every Soul is taken with musicall sounds, &c. InSomn. 
Scipion. lib.ii. cap. 3. Other Reasons are assigned by Kirkman, and several Authorities urged 
for this Custom : De Funeribus Roman, lib. ii. cap. 4." 

The following passage is curious on the subject of singing Psalms before the Corpse : " Canti- 


many parts of this nation, to carry out the dead with singing of Psalms and 
Hymns of Triumph ; to shew that they have ended their spiritual warfare, that 
they have finished their Course with Joy, and are become Conquerors. 

leua feralis per Antiphonas in pompa funebri et Fano debacchata hinc est. Inter Graecos demor- 
tui cadavere deposito in inferior! domus aula ad portam, et peractis caeteris Ceremoniis, Cantores 
funerales accedunt et Spwv canunt, quibus per intervalla respondebant domestics servae, cum 
assistentium corona, neque solum domi, sed usque ad Sepulchrum preecedebant feretrum ita ca- 
nentes." Guichard. Lib. ii. cap. 2. Funeral, apud Moresini Papatum, &c. p. 32. 

I find the following passage in a rare Book, entitled, "Greene in Conceipt, 4to. Lond. 1598. 
p. 43. " It is a Custome still in use with Christians, to attend the funerall of their deceased 
Friendes, with whole Chantries of choyce Quire-men, singing solemnly before them : but behinde 
followes a Troope all clad in blacke, which argues mourning : much have I marveled at this Cere- 
mony, deeming it some hidden paradox, confounding thus in one things so opposite as these signes 
of joy and sorrovve." 

Mr. Pennant's MS. relating to North Wales, says, " there is a Custom of singing Psalms on the 
way as the Corps is carried to Church." 

Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man (Works, folio, p. 170.) speaking of the Manks 
Burials, says : " The Procession of carrying the Corps to the Grave is in this manner : when they 
come within a quarter of a Mile of the Church, they are met by the parson, who walks before them 
singing a Psalm, all the Company joining with him. In every Church Yard there is a Cross round 
which they go three times before they enter the Church." 

In Cymbeline, Arviragus, speaking of the apparently dead body of Imogen, disguised in Men's 
Clothes, says : 

" And let us, Polydore, sing him to the ground, 
As once our Mother ; use like Note and Words, 
Save that Euriphile must be Fidele." 

Act. iv. sc. 2. 

Mr. Gough in the Introduction to the second Volume of his Sepulchral Monuments, p. vii. says : 
Music and Singing made a part of Funerals. Macrobius assigns as a reason that it implied the 
Soul's return to the Origin of Harmony or Heaven. Hyginus understands it to mean a signal of 
decent disposal of the dead, and that they came fairly by their death, as the tolling Bell among 

In " The Praise of Musicke (by Dr. Case, see Wood's Athense, Oxon. vol. i. p. 299.) 8vo. Oxford, 
1596. Signat. F. 3 b. the author says : " I wil end with death, the end of all mortality, which though 
it be the dissolution of Nature and parting of the Soul from the Body, terrible in itself to flesh and 
blood, and amplified with a number of displeasant and uncomfortable Accidents, as the shaving of 
the head, howling, mourning apparel, Funeral Boughes of Yeu, Box, Ciprcise, and th like, yet we 


This exultation, as it were for the conquest of their deceased Friend over 
Hell, Sin, and Death, was the great Ceremony used in all funeral processions 
among the antient Christians. 

The Author of the Survey of the South of Ireland, pp. 206. 209. tells us : 
" It is the Custom of this Country to conduct their dead to the Grave in all 
the parade they can display ; and, as they pass through any Town, or meet any 
remarkable person, they set up their howl." " The Conclamatio among the Ro- 
mans coincides with the Irish cry. The ' Mulieres praeficaa' exactly correspond 
with the Women who lead the Irish Band, and who make an outcry too out- 
rageous for real grief*. 

shal find by resorting to Antiquities, that MUSICK hath had a share amongst them, as being un- 
seasonable at no time." 

Barnaby Rich, in his " Irish Hubbub," &c. 4to. Lend. 1619. p. 2. tells us : " Stanhurst in his 
History of Ireland, maketh this report of his Countreymen : they follow the dead Corps to the 
Ground, with howling and barbarous Outcries, pitifull in appearance, whereof (as he supposeth) 
grew this Proverb, ' to weep Irish.' Mysclfe am partly of his opinion, that (indeede) to weepe 
Irish, is to weep at pleasure, without either cause or greefe, when it is an usuall matter 
amongst them, upon the buriall of their Dead, to hire a Company of Women, that for some small 
recompence given them, they will follow the corps, and furnish out the cry with such howling and 
barbarous outcries, that hee that should but heare them, and did not know the Ceremony, would 
rather thinke they did sing than weep. And yet in Dublin itselfe, there is not a Corps carried to 
the Buriall, which is not followed with this kinde of Mourners, which you shall heare by their 
howling and their hollowing, but never see them to shed any Tears." " Such a kinde of Lamen- 
tation," he adds, it is " as in the Judgement of any Man that should but heare, and did not know 
their Custome, would think it to bee some prodigious presagement, prognosticating some unlucky 
or ill successe, as they use to attribute to the howling of Doggs, to the croaking of Ravens, and 
the shrieking of Owles, fitter for Infidels and Barbarians, than to bee in use and custome among 

The author of "The Comical Pilgrim's PilgrimRge into Ireland," 8vo. Lond. 1723. p. 92. says : 
" As soon as Death brings his last summons to any one, the wild Irish (both Men, Women, and 
Children,) go before the Corpse, and from his or her House to the Church Yard, set up a most 
hideous Holoo, loo, loo, which may be heard two or three miles round the Country." 


" Ut qui conducti plorant in Funere, dicunt 
Et faciunt prope plura dolentibus ex animo." 

That this custom was Phoenician we may learn from Virgil, who was very 

This Custom is also alluded to in King's Art of Cookery ; Works, 1776, vol. iii. p. 87. 
" So, at an Irish Funeral appears 

A Train of Drabs with mercenary Tears ; 

Who, wringing of their Hands with hideous moan, 

Know not his Name for whom they seem to groan : 

While real Grief with silent steps proceeds, 

And Love unfeign'd with inward passion bleeds." 
In the Irish Hudibras, 8vo. Lond. 1689. p. 31. we have the following 

" Form of an Irish Funeral. 

Meanwhile the Rout to work do fall, 

To celebrate the Funeral. 

And first with Turff from Bog, and Blocks, 

They made a Fire would roast an Oxe. 

Some lay the Pipkins on, and some 

With holy Water bathe his ***. 

Which office decently perfonn'd, 

The Guests with Usquebaugh well wann'd, 

They raise the cry, and so they fout him 

Unto a Crate *, to howl 'about him ; 

Where, in one end, the parted brother 

Was laid to rest, the Cows in t'other, 

With all his followers and kin, 

Who, far and near, come crowding in, 

With Hub-bub-boos, besides what Cryers 

For greater state his Highnes hires." 

The following is from an ingenious Paper in "The World," No. 24. (written, I believe, by Lord 
Chesterfield.) " When the lower sort of Irish, in the most uncivilized parts of Ireland, attend the 
Funeral of a deceased friend or neighbour, before they give the last parting Howl, they expostu- 
late with the dead Body, and reproach him with having died, notwithstanding that he had an ex- 
cellent Wife, a Milch Cow, seven fine Children, and a competency of Potatoes." 

On the subject of the Irish Howl, in Sir Henry Piers's Description ofWestMeath, 1682. in 
Vallancey's Collectanea, vol. i. p. 124. we read : In Ireland " at Funerals they have their Wakes, 
which as now they celebrate, were more befitting Heathens than Christians. They sit up commonly 

* An Irish Cabin. 


correct in the costume of his characters. The Conclamatio over the Phoenician 
Dido, as described by him, is similar to the Irish cry : 

" Lamentis, gemituque, et foemineo ululatu 
Tecta fremunt." 

in a barn or large Room, and are entertained with Beer and Tobacco. The Lights are set up on a 
Table over the Dead ; they spend most of the Night in obscene Stories and bawdye Songs, untill 
the Hour comes for the exercise of their Devotions; then the priest calls on them to fall to their 
prayers for the Soul of the dead, which they perform by repetition of Aves and Paters on their 
Beads, and close the whole with a ' De profundis,' and then immediately to the Story or Song again, 
till another Hour of Prayer comes. Thus is the whole Night spent till day. When the time of 
Burial comes, all the Women run out like mad, and now the scene is altered, nothing heard but 
wretclied Exclamations, howling and clapping of hands, enough to destroy their own and others sense 
of hearing : and this was of old the heathenish custom as the Poet hath observed : 
' Omnes magno circum clamore fremebant 

Haud mora festinant flentes.' 

' The gaping croud around the body stand, 

All weep his Fate, 

And hasten to perform the Fun'ral state.' 


This they fail not to do, especially if the deceased were of good parentage, or of wealth and re- 
pute, or a Landlord, &c. and think it a great honour to the dead to keep all this coyl, and some 
have been so vain as to hire these kind of Mourners to attend their dead ; and yet they do not by 
all this attain the end they seem to aim at, which is to be thought to mourn for the dead ; for the 

Poet hath well observed, 

' Fortiter ille dolet, qui sine teste dolet.' 

' The truly griev'd in secret weep.' 

At some stages, where commonly they meet with great heaps of Stones in the way, the Corpse 
is laid down and the priest or priests and all the learned fall again to their Aves and Paters, &c. 
During this office all is quiet and hushed. But this done, the Corpse is raised, and with it the 
Out-cry again. But that done, and while the Corpse is laying down and the earth throwing on, 
is the last and most vehement scene of this formal Grief j and all this perhaps but to earn a Groat, 
and from this Egyptian custom they are not to be weaned. In some parts of Connaught, if the party 
deceased were of good note, they will send to the Wake hogsheads of excellent stale beer and 
wine from all parts, with other provisions, as beef, &c. to help the expence at the Funeral, and often- 
times more is sent in than can well be spent." 

Compare also Cotgrave's English Treasury of Wit and Language, p. 35. and Memorable Things 
noted in the Description of the World, p. 15. 


The very word "Ululatus," or " Hulluloo," and the Greek word of the same 
import, have all a strong affinity to each other. 

Mr. Gough in his Introduction to the second Volume of the Sepulchral Monuments of Great 
Britain, p. vii. in a Note, says : " The Women of Picardy have a custom of calling the deceased by 
his name, as he is carried to the Grave. (Incert. des Signes de la Mort, p. 180.) So do the Indians, 
and expostulate with him for dying. Xaijs was a common and affecting parting exclamation at the 

Howling at Funerals appears to have been of general use in the Papal Times from the following 
passage in Veron's Hunting of Purgatory to Death. Lond. 1561. fol. 37 b. where speaking of St. 
Chrysostom, he says : " No mention at al doth he make of that manner of singinge or rather un- 
semely howling that your Papists use for the Salvation of theyr dead, therby, under a pretence of 
godlinesse, picking the purses of the pore simple and ignorant people." 

Anthony Stafford, in his Meditations and Resolutions, 12mo. Lond. 1612. p. 1G. says : " It is a 
wonder to see the childish whining we now-adayes use at the funcralls of our Friends. If we 
could haul them back againe, our Lamentations were to some purpose ; but as they are, they are 
vaine, and in vain." 

In " Whimzies, or a new Cast of Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1631. p. 207. speaking of the death of 
" a Zealous Brother," the author says: "Some Mourners hee hath of his owne, who howle not 
so much that hee should leave them, as that nothing is left them." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xv. (Svo. Edinb. 1795.) p. 636. Parish of Avoeh, Ross- 
ehire, we read : " At common funerals, in this district, the Corpse is preceded by the parish Officer 
tolling a Hand-Bell. The Pall or Mort Cloth is of plain black velvet, without any decoration, 
except a fringe. An immense crowd of both Sexes attend ; and the Lamentations of the Women, 
in some cases, on seeing a beloved Relative put into the Grave, would almost pierce a heart 
of stone." 

Park, in his Travels in the Interior of Africa, tells, that among the Moors, Aprils, a Child 
died in one of the Tents, " and the Mother and the Relations immediately began the Death-Howl. 
They were joined by a number of female Visitors, who came on purpose to assist at this melan- 
choly Concert. I had no opportunity of seeing the Burial, which is generally performed secretly 
in the dusk of the Evening, and frequently at only a few yards distance from the Tent. Over tlic 
Grave they plant one particular Shrub ; and no stranger is allowed to pluck a leaf, or even to 
touch it." Speaking elsewhere of the Negroes he says : " When a person of consequence dies, the 
Relations and Neighbours meet together and manifest their sorrow by loud howlings." 



o.w,- IT/ 

! fix: <>/(':;! . 

The antient Christians, to testify their abhorrence of Heathen Rites, rejected 
the Pagan Custom of burning the Dead, depositing the inanimate Body entire in 
the ground. Thus I found at Rutchester, one of the Stations upon the Roman 
Wall in Northumberland, a Sepulchre hewn out of the living Rock, wherein 
Leland says Paulinus who converted the Northumbrians to Christianity was 

I found in a Collection of Old Epigrams of the time of James the first, the 
following quaint one on the subject of carrying the Body to the Grave with the 

feet foremost. 

"517. Mail's Ingress and Egress. 

Nature, which headlong into Life did throng us, 
With our feet forward to our Grave doth bring us : 
What is less ours than this our borrow 1 d Breath ? 
We stumble into Life, we goe to Death. 

Sir Thomas Browne, in his Urne-burial, observes, that " the Custom of carry- 
ing the Corpse as it were out of the World with its feet forward, is not incon- 
sonant to Reason, as contrary to the native posture of Man, and his production 
first into it a ." 

In Dudley Lord North's Forest of Varieties, fol. Lond. 1645. at p. 80. is preserved the following 
Requiem at the Entertainment of Lady Rich, who died August 24th, 1638. 
" Who 'ere you are, Patron subordinate, 

Unto this House of Prayer, and doe extend 
Your Bare and Care to what we pray and lend ; 
May this place stand for ever consecrate : 

And may this ground and you propitious be 

To this once powerful, now potential dust, 

Concredited to your fraternal trust, 
Till Friends, Souls, Bodies meet eternally. 
And thou her tutelary Angel, who 

Wer't happy Guardian to so faire a charge, 

O leave not now part of thy care at large, 
But tender it as thou wer't wont to do. 



In Poems by the Rev. John Black, Minister of Butley in Suffolk, 8vo. Ipsw. 
1799- p- 10. in "An Elegy on the Author's Mother, who was buried in the Church 
Yard of Dunichen in Scotland," is the following Stanza : 

" Oh, how my soul was griev'd, when I let fall 
The String that drcpt her silent in the Grave ! 
Yet thought I then, I heard her Spirit call : 
' Safe I have pass'd through Death's o'erwhelming wave'." 

On the second Line, the Author has this Note : 

" In Scotland, it is the Custom of the Relations of the deceased themselves to 
let down the Corpse into the Grave, by mourning Cords, fastened to the handles 
of the Coffin : the Chief-Mourner standing at the head, and the rest of the 
Relations arranged according to their propinquity. When the Coffin is let 
down and adjusted in the Grave, the Mourners first, and then all the surround- 
ing multitude, uncover their heads : there is no Funeral Service read : no Ora- 
tion delivered : but that solemn pause, for about the space of ten minutes, 

Time, common Father, join with Mother-Earth, 
And though you all confound, and she convert, 
Favour this Relique of divine Desert, 

Deposited for a ne're dying Birth. 

Saint, Church, Earth, Angel, Time, prove truly kind 
As she to you, to this bequest consign'd." 

In " Batt upon Batt, a Poem, on the Parts, Patience, and Pains of Barth. Kempster," already 
quoted more than once, we find a notice of what is called Stirrup Verse at the Grave, p. 12. 

" Must Megg, the wife of Batt, aged eightie 
Deceas'd November thirteenth, seventy three*, 
Be cast, like common Dust, into the Pit, 
Without one Line of Monumental Wit ? 
One Death's head Distich, or Mortality-Staff 
With Sense enough for Church-yard Epitaph ? 
No Stirrup- Perse at Grave before She go ? 
Batt does not use to part at Tavern so." 

*i.. 1673. 


when every one is supposed to be meditating on Death and Immortality, always 
struck my heart in the most awful manner : never more than on the occasion 
here alluded to. The sound of the Cord, when it fell on the Coffin, still seems to 
vibrate on my Ear." 

[The Belief in Yorkshire was, amongst the Vulgar, says Mr. Aubrey's Ma- 
nuscript, and perhaps is, in part, still, that after a person's death, the Soul went 
over Whinny Moor ; and till about 1624, at the Funeral, a Woman came (like a 
Praefica) and sung the following Song : 

" This can night, this can night, 

Every night and awle, 
Fire and Fleet a and Candle- Light, 
And Christ receive thy savvle. 

When thou from hence doest pass away 

Every night and awle, 
To Whinny- Moor b thou comest at last, 

And Christ receive thy savvle. 
If ever thou gave either hosen or shun% 

Every night and awle, 
Sitt thee down and put them on, 

And Christ receive thy savvle. 

But if hosen nor shoon thou never gave nean, 

Every night and awle, 
The Whinnes shall prick thee to the bare beane, 

And Christ receive thy sawle. 

From Whinny-Moor that thou mayst pass 

Every night and awle 
To Brig o' Dread thou comest at last, 

And Christ receive thy sawle. 

fleet, water. b HTtin is Furze. 



From Brig of Dread that thou mayst pass, 

Every night and awle, 
To Purgatory Fire thou com'st at last, , ; 

And Christ receive thy sawle. 

If ever thou gave either Milke or Drink, 

Every night and awle, 
The Fire shall never make the shrink, 

And Christ receive thy sawle. 

But if Milk nor Drink thou never gave nean 

Every night and awle, 
The Fire shall burn thee to the bare beane, 

And Christ receive thy sawle." 

This Song, with one or two trifling variations, is printed under the title of 
" A Lyke-Wake Dirge," in the " Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border," vol. ii. 
p. 363.] 


The Custom of using Torches and Lights at Funerals, or in Funeral Proces- 
sions, appears to have been of long standing a . The learned Gregory tells us 
that " the Funeral Tapers, however thought of by some, are of harmelesse im- 
port. Their meaning is to shew, that the departed Soules are not quite put out, 
but, having walked here as the Children of Light, are now gone to walk before 
God in the light of the living b ." 

a " Dum autem Funus efferebatur, faces praeferebantur. Constant!! Corpus delatum fuisse noc- 
turnis Cantionibus et Cereorum ignibus, &c." Durand. de Ritibus. p. 228. 

" Gallos Funus honorific^ curasse et multitudinem Luminum, splendorem sibi etiam per diem 
vendicantem, repercusso Solis radio repulsisse," &c. Ibid. 

b Gregorii Opuscula, p. 112. See also Mr. Cough's Introduction to the Second Volume of his 
Sepulchral Monuments in Great Britain, p. vii. 

" Among the Romans, public Funerals were celebrated in the Day : private Burials at Night : 
and both were accompanied with Torches." Female Mentor, vol. ii. p. 196. 

[" All Funerals," says Adam, in his Roman Antiquities, 8vo. Edinb. 1792. p. 476. "used an- 
tiently to be solemnized in the night time with Torches, that they might not fall in the way of 


Strutt tells us the burning of Torches was very honourable. To have a great 
many was a special mark of esteem in the person who made the Funeral to the 
deceased . 

Magistrates and Priests, who were supposed to be violated by seeing a Corpse, so that they could 
not perform sacred rites, till they were purified by an expiatory sacrifice, Serv. in Virg. xi. 143. 
Donat. Ter. And. i. 1. 81. Thus, to diminish the expences of Funerals, it was ordained by Deme- 
trius Phalereus at Athens, Cic. de Legg. ii. 26. according to an ancient law, which seems to have 
fallen into desuetude, Demosth. adv. Macartatum, p. 666. Hence FUNUS, a Funeral, from Junes 
accensi, Isid. xi. 2. xx. 10. or fttnalia, f males cerei, cerece faces, vel candelee, Torches, Candles, or 
Tapers, originally made of small ropes or cords, (Junes velfuniculi,} covered with wax or tallow, 
(sevum vel sebum,) Serv. ibid, et JEn. i. 727- Val. Max. iii. 6. 4. Varr. de vit. pop. R. 

" But in after ages, public Funerals (funera indie tivaj were celebrated in the day time, at an 
early hour in the forenoon, as it is thought from Plutarch, in Syll. with Torches also, Serv. in 
Virg. JEn. vi. 224. Tacit. Ann. iii. 4. Private or ordinary Funerals (tacita) were always at night, 
Fest. in VESPILONES.] 

c Manners and Customs, vol. ii. p. 108. By the Will of William de Montacute, Earl of Salis- 
bury, executed April 29, 1397. " Twenty-four poor people, cloathed in black gowns and red 
hoods, are ordered to attend the Funeral, each carrying a lighted Torch of eight pounds weight." 

In Mr. Nichols's Illustrations of the Manners and Expences of antient Times in England. 4to. 
Lond. 1797. Churchw. Accounts of St. Margaret's, Westminster, p. 1. under the year 1460-1 is 
the following article : 

" Item, rec' de Joh'e Braddyns die sepultur' Robti Thorp gen' p. iiii. Tor', vjs. viijd." 
on which Dr Pegge observes, p. 243. " Little was done in these ages of gross Popery without 
Lights. These Torches cost Is. Sd. apiece; but we find them of various prices, according, as we 
may suppose, to their size. The Churchwardens appear to have provided them, and consequently 
they were an article of profit to the Church." The Editor adds : " These Torches, it is conceived, 
were made of wax, which in ordinary cases were let out by the Church, and charged to the Party 
according to the consumption at the moment. This appears in the York Churchwardens' Ac- 
compts, where Wax is charged." 

Ibid. p. 8. A. D. 1519. 

" Item, Mr. Hall, the Curate, for iv. Torches, and for the best Lights, at the Buryal of Mr. 
Henry Vued, my Lord Cardinal's Servant, vjs. vjd." 

In Coates's History of Reading, 4to. Lond. 1802. p. 215. in the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. 
Lawrence Parish are the following articles : 

" A. D. 1502. It. rec. of wast of Torchis at the berying of sir John Hide, Vicar of Sonyng, 
ijs. vjci." 

" A. D. 1503. It. rec. for wast of Torchys at the burying of John Long, maist' of the Gram' 
Scole, vjs. viijd." 

" A. D. 1504. It. rec. of the same Margaret," (late the wife of Thomas Platt,) for wast of Torchis 
at the yer mind of the seid Thomas, xxd." 


Monsieur Jorevin, before cited, describing a Lord's Burial near Shrewsbury, 
speaking of six Men taking up the Corpse and carrying it on their shoulders to 
the Church, says " it was covered with a large Cloth, which the four nearest 
Relations held each by a corner with one hand, and in the other carried a 
bough;" (this must have been a branch of Rosemary d :) "the other Relations 

See also Strype's edit, of Stow's Survey of London, Book i. p. 258. A- D. 1556. Sir John Gres- 
ham's Funeral. He had four dozen of great Staff Torches and a dozen of great long Torches." 

Veron, in his " Hunting of Purgatory to death," 8vo. Lend. 1561. fol. 40 l>. says: " If the 
Christians should bury their dead in the nighte time, or if they should burne their bodies, as the 
Painims did, they might well use Torches as well as the Painims without any just reprehension and 
blame." He observes, Ibid. fol. 45. " Moreover it is not to be doubted but that the auncient 
Byshops and Ministers of the Church did bryng in this manner of bearings of Torches, and of sing- 
inge in Funerals, not for thentent and purpose that the Painimes did use it, nor yet for to con- 
firme their superstitious abuses and errours, but rather for to abolishe them. For they did see 
that it was an hard thing to pluck those old and inveterate Customes from the hartes of them that 
had been nouselled in them from their youth. They did forsee that if they had buried their dead 
without som honest ceremonies, as the worlde did then take them, it had bene yet more harde to 
put away those olde rotten errors from them that were altogether wedded unto them." Our 
author tells us, Ibid. fol. 47. " Chrisostome, likening the deade whome they followed with burn- 
ynge Torches unto Wrestlers and Runners, had a respect unto the customes and fashions of 
Grekeland, beyng a Greeke himcelfe, among whiche there was a certain kind of running, after 
this maner. The firste did beare a Torche, being lighted, in his hand, which being weary, he did 
deliver unto him that followeth next after him. He againe, that had received the Torche, if he 
chaunced to be wery, did the like : and so all the residue that followeth in order;" hence " among 
the Grekes and Latines to geve the Lampe or Torche unto another, hath beene taken for to put 
other in his place, after that one is weiye and hath perfourmed his course." He concludes : 
" This may very wel be applyed unto them, that departe out of this world." 

Ibid. fol. 151. " Singinge, bearinge of Lightes, and other like Ceremonies as were used in their 
Buringes and Funeralles, were ordeyned, or rather permitted and suffred by y c auncient Bishoppes 
and Pastours, for" to abolish, put downe, and dryve awai the superstition and ydolatri y*- the hea- 
then and paynymes used about their dead: and not for anye opinion y l they had, yt such t hinges 
could profile the Soules departed, as it doth manifestly appear by their owne writinges." 

The following is the Epitaph of the great Bude at St. Genevieve, Paris. 
" Que n'a-ton plus en Torches dependu, 
Suivant la mode accoutumee en Sainte ? 
Afin qu'il soit par I'obscur entendit 
Que des Francois la lumiere est eteinte." 

* Mr .Wordsworth, in his Lyrical Ballads, vol. ii. p. 147- tells us that in several parts of the North 
of England, when a Funeral takes place, a bason full of Sprigs of Box-wood is placed at the Door 


and Friends had in one hand a Flambeau, and in the other a Bough, marching 
thus through the Street, without singing or saying any Prayer, till they came to 
the Church." After the Burial Service, he adds, the Clergyman, " having his 
bough in his hand like the rest of the Congregation, threw it on the dead Body 
when it was put into the Grave, as did all the Relations, extinguishing their 
Flambeaux in the Earth with which the Corps was to be covered. This 
finished, every one retired to his home without farther ceremony e ." 


Funeral Sermons are of great antiquity 1 . This Custom used to be very gene- 
ral in England b . I know no w here that it is retained at present, except upon 

of the House from which the Coffin is taken up, and each person who attends the Funeral ordi- 
narily takes a Sprig of this wood and throws it into the Grave of the deceased. 

Antiquar. Repertory, vol. ii. pp. 101. 102. 

a " Ceterum priusquam Corpus humo injecta contegatur, defunctus Oratione funebri lauda- 
batur." Durand. p. 236. 

* In Cotgrave's Treasury of Wit and Language, p. 35. we read : 

" In all this Sermon I have heard little commendations 

Of our dear Brother departed : rich men doe not go 

To the Pit-hole without Complement of Christian Buriall." 

[Even such an infamous character as Madam Cresswell had her Funeral Sermon. " She desired 
by Will to have a Sermon preached at her Funeral, for which the Preacher was to have ten pounds; 
but upon this express condition, that he was to say nothing but what was well of her. A preacher 
was, with some difficulty, found, who undertook the task. He, after a Sermon preached on the 
general subject of mortality, and the good uses to be made of it, concluded with saying, ' By the 
Will of the deceased, it is expected that I should mention her, and say nothing but what was well 
of her. All that I shall say of her therefore is this: She was born well, she lived well, and she 
died well ; for she was born with the name of Cresswell, she lived in Clerkenwell, and she died in 

" Dr. Fuller, in his Appeal of injured Innocence, (Part iii. p. 75.) tells us, that " When one was 
to preach the Funeral Sermon of a most vicious and generally hated person, all wondered what he 
would say in his praise ; the preacher's friends fearing, his foes hoping that, for his fee, he would 
force his conscience to flattery. For one thing, said the minister, this man is to be spoken well 
of by all ; and, for another thing, he is to be spoken ill of by none. The first is because God made 


Portland Island, Dorsetshire, where the Minister has Half-a-Guinea for every 
Sermon he preaches, by which he raises annually a very considerable sum. 
This species of Luxury in Grief is very common there, and indeed, as it con- 
veys the idea of posthumous honour, all are desirous of procuring it even 
for the youngest of their Children as well as their deceased Friends. The 
Fee is nearly the same as that mentioned by Gay in his Dirge : 

" Twenty good Shillings in a Rag I laid, 
Be Ten the Parson's for his Sermon paid." 

Mr. Gough, in the Introduction to the second Volume of his Sepulchral 
Monuments, p. xi. says : " From Funeral Orations over Christian Martyrs" 
have followed Funeral Sermons for eminent Christians of all denominations, whe- 
ther founded in esteem, or sanctioned by fashion, or secured by reward. Our 
ancestors, before the Reformation, took especial care to secure the repose and 
well-being of their Souls, by Masses and other deeds of piety and charity. 
After that event was supposed to have dispelled the gloom of Superstition, and 
done away the painful doctrine of Purgatory, they became more solicitous to 

him} the second, because lie is dead." Granger's Biogr. Hist, of England, Svo- Lond. 1775. vol. 
iv. p. 218.] 

Misson, in his Travels in England, transl. by Ozell, p. 93. speaking of our Funerals, says : 
" The common practice is to earn' the Corpse into the body of the Church, where they set it down 
upon two Tressels, while either a Funeral Sermon is preached, containing an Elogium upon the 
deceased, or certain Prayers said, adapted to the occasion. If the Body is not buried in the 
Church, they carry it to the Church Yard, where it is interred, (after the Minister has performed 
the Service which may be seen in the Book of Common Prayer,) in the presence of the Guests, 
who are round the Grave, and do not leave it till the earth is thrown in upon it. Then they re- 
turn home in the same order that they came." 

It is still a Custom, I believe, for the Ordinary of Newgate to preach a Funeral Sermon before 
each Execution. See " Whimzies, or a New Cast of Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1631. p. ?O. 

c In "The Burnynge of Paule's Church in London, 1561. and by Lyghtenynge," &c. Svo. Lond. 
1563. Signat. G. 6 b. we read : " Gregory Nazanzene hais his Funerall Sermons and Orations in 
the commendacion of the party departed ; so hais Ambrose for Theodosius and Valentinian the 
Emperours, for his brother Statirus," &c. 

The Author of the Philosophical Survey of the South of Ireland says, p. 207. " It was formerly 
usual to have a Bard to write the Elegy of the deceased, which contained an enumeration of his 
good qualities, his genealogy, his riches, &c. the burden being, ' O why did he die' ?" 



have their memories embalmed, and the example of their good works held forth 
to posterity. Texts were left to be preached from, and sometimes money to 
pay for such preaching. Gratitude founded commemorative Sermons as well 
as commemorative Dinners for Benefactors." 



Durand mentions Black as antiently in use at Funerals, which St. Cyprian 
seems to have inveighed against as the Indication of Sorrow, on an event 
which to the Christian was matter of Joy a . 

" Induebantur atris vestibus, prasertim apud Gallos : hunc tamen lugubrem et atrum amictum 
videtur improbare Cyprian. Serm. de Mortalitate." Durand. de Rit. p. 225. 

Cyprian's words are : " Cum sciamus fratres nostros accersione dominica de Seculo liberates, 
non amitti sed prsemitti, non sunt nobis hie accipiendtz atrce vestes, quando illi ibi indumenta alba 
jam sumpserinl." 

Mr. Gough, in the Introduction to the second Volume of his Sepulchral Monuments in Great 
Britain, p. xx. gives us numerous references to the Classics to prove that the colour of Mourning- 
Garments has, in most instances, been black from the earliest antiquity. 

" Plutarch writeth that the Women in their Mournyng laied a parte all purple, golde, and 
sumptuous Apparell, and were clothed bothe they and their kinsfolk in white Apparel, like as then 
the ded Body was wrapped in white Clothes. The white coloure was thought fittest for the ded, 
because it is clere, pure, and sincer, and leaste defiled." 

" Of this Ceremonie, as I take it, the French Quenes toke occasion, after the death of their 
housebandes the Kynges, to weare onely white Clothyng, and, if there bee any suche Widdowe, 
she is commonly called the White Quene." 

" Mournyng Garments for the moste part be altogether of blacke coloure, and they use to 
weare theim a whole yere continually, onlesse it bee because of a general! triuraphe or rejoysyng, 
or newe Magistrate chosyng, or els when thei bee toward Marriage." 

Langley's Abridgement of Polidore Vergil, fol. cxxiij. 
Cotgrare, in his Treasury of Wit and Language, p. 36. has these Lines : 
" Funeralls hide Men in civill wearing, 
And are to the Drapers a good hearing, 
Make th' Heralds laugh in their black rayment, 
And all dye worthies dye worth payment 


So in Romeo and Juliet : 

" All things, that we ordained festival, 
Turn from their office to black Funeral; 
Our Instruments, to melancholy Bells ; 
Our Wedding cheer, to a sad burial feast; 
Our solemn Hymns to sullen Dirges change ; 
Our bridal Flowers serve for a buried Corse, 
And all things change them to their contraries." 

Granger, however, tells us, " it is recorded that Anne Bullen wore yellow 
Mourning for Catharine of Arragon." For his authority he refers to Walpole's 
Anecdotes of Painting. The same circumstance is found in Hall's Chronicle, with 
the addition of Henry's wearing white Mourning for the unfortunate Anne Bullen b . 

To th' Altar offerings, though their fame, 

And all the charity of their name 

'Tvveen Heav'n and this, yeeld no rtiore light, 

Than rotten Trees which shine in the night." 

In the Supplement to the Athenian Oracle, p. 301. it is stated that " Black is the fittest em. 
blem of that sorrow and grief the mind is supposed to be clouded with ; and, as Death is the pri- 
vation of Life, and Black a privation of Light, 'tis very probable this colour has been chosen to 
denote sadness, upon that account ; and accordingly this colour has, for Mourning, been preferred 
by most people throughout Europe. The Syrians, Cappadocians, and Armenians use Sky-colour, 
to denote the place they wish the dead to be in, i. e. the Heavens : the Egyptians yellow, or fillemot, 
to shew that as Herbs being faded become yellow, so Death is the end of human hope : and the 
Ethiopians grey, because it resembles the colour of the Earth, which receives the dead." 

b In a rare Book on Dreams, by Thomas Hill, 6. 1, temp. Eliz. 8vo. Signal, m. 1. is the following 
passage : " To a sicke person to have or weare on white Garments doothe promyse death, for that 
dead Bodyes bee caryed foorth in white Clothes. And to weare on a blacke Garmente, it doothe 
promyse, for the more parte, healthe to a sicke person, for that not dead personnes, but suche 
as mourne for the deade, do use to be clothed in Blacke." 

At the Funerals of unmarried persons of both sexes, as well as Infants, the Scarves, Hatbands, 
and Gloves given as Mourning are White. 

In the twelfth Volume of the Archaeologia, 4to. Lond. 1796. the Rev. Mr. Wrighte, in his 
Short Notices relating to the Parish of Llanvetherine, Monmouthshire, p. 100. says : " In such obscure 
parts of the Kingdom antient Customs are frequently retained. The common people of this parish 
tie a dirty Cloth about their heads when they appear as chief Mourners at a Funeral. The same, ; 
custom likewise prevails in different places." 


Crimson would have been a much more suitable Colour . 

In England, it was formerly the fashion to mourn a Year for very near rela- 
tions. Thus Pope : 

" Grieve for an hour perhaps, then mourn a year." 

Dupre tells us, in his Conformity, p. 181. that the antient Romans employed 
certain persons, named Designatores, clothed in black, to invite people to Fune- 
rals, and to carry the Coffin. There are persons in our days who wear the same 
cloathing, and serve the same office. The Romans, saith Marolles, had, in 
their Ceremonies, Lictors, dressed in black, who did the Office of our Mourners. 


Something, instead of the Pall, used at present to cover the Coffin, appears by 
Durand to have been of great antiquity 3 . 

c In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. ii. 8vo. Edinb. 1792. p. 80. The 
Minister of Galston in Ayrshire informs us : " It is usual for even the Women to attend Funerals 
in the Village, drest in black or red cloaks." 

a " In nobilibus, aureum velamentum super feretrum, quo corpus obtegeretur, apponi consue- 
tum." Durand. p. 225. 

Misson, in his Travels in England, transl. by Ozell, p. 91. says : " The Parish has always three 
or four Mortuary Cloths of different prices (the handsomest is hired out at five or six crowns) to 
furnish those who are at the charge of the Interment. These Cloths, which they call Palls, are 
some of black velvet, others of Cloth with an edge of white Linen or Silk a foot broad, or 
thereabouts. For a Batchellor, or Maid, or for a Woman that dies in child-bed, the pall is white. 
This is spread over the Coffin, and is so broad, that the six or eight men in black cloaths that carry 
the body (upon their shoulders) are quite hid beneath it to their waste ; and the corners and sides 
of it hang down low enough to be born by those (six friends, Men or Women, according to the 
occasion,) who, according to custom, are invited for that purpose. They generally give black 
or white Gloves, and black crape Hat-bands, to those that cany the Pall : sometimes, also, white 
silk scarves." 

Undertakers, now, provide the Palls. For Men, black silk scarves are sometimes given, some- 
times they are of black satin. 


The same Writer informs us, in many quotations from the antient Christian 
Writers, that those of the highest orders of Clergy, thought it no reproach to 
their dignity, in antient Times, to carry the Bier, and that at the Funeral of 
Paula, Bishops were what in modern language we call Under Bearers b . How 
different an Idea of this office prevails in our Times. 

In "The Life of Mr. George Herbert, written by Izaack Walton ," I2mo. 
Lond. 1670. p. 70. speaking of Mr. Herbert's ordination, our Biographer tells 
us : " at which time the reverend Dr. Humphrey Henchman, now Lord Bishop 
, - 

In " The Irish Hudibras," p. 35. is given the following Description of the Burial of an Irish 
Piper : 

" They mounted him upon a Bier, 
Through which the Wattles did appear ; 
Like Ribbs on either side made fast, 
With a white Velvet * over cast : 
So poor Macshane, Good rest his shoul, 
Was after put him in a hole ; 
In which, with many sighs and scrieches, 
They throw his Trouses and his Breeches ; 
And tattar'd Brogue was after throw, 
With a new heel-piece on the toe ; 
And Stockins fine as Friez to feel, 
Worn out with praying at the heel ; 
And in his mouth 'gainst he took wherry, 
Dropt a white-groat-^ to pay the Ferry. 
Thus did they make this last hard shift, 
To furnish him for a dead-lift." 

b "Paulam translatam fuisse Episcoporum manibus, Cervicem feretro subjicientibus." Durand. 
p. 227- From this it appears too that the Corps was carried shoulder height as the term now is. 

Mr. Pennant's MS. so often cited, relating to North Wales, informs us that " at these words 
' we commit the Body to the ground,' the Minister holds the Spade and throws in the first spadeful 
of Earth. Skiviog." 

In the Hydriotaphia, or Urne Burial of Sir Thomas Browne, p. 56. speaking of the antient Hea- 
thens, he says : " Their last Valediction thrice uttered by the Attendants was also very solemn ; 
' Vale, Vale, Vale, nos te ordine quo Natura permittet sequemur :' and somewhat answered by 
Christians, who thought it too little, if they threw not the earth thrice upon the enterred Body." 

* A Blanket. t A Bun-guol. 


of London, tells me, he laid his hand on Mr. Herbert's head, and (alas!) 
within less than three years, lent his shoulder to carry his dear friend to his 
Grave c ." 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. iii. 8vo. Edinb. 
1792. p. 5 L 25. The Minister of Tongue, in the County of Sutherland, after hav- 
ing mentioned the Funeral Entertainment, (" for at the burial of the poorest here, 
there is a refreshment given, consisting generally of some Whisquybeath, or 
some foreign liquor, butter and cheese, with oat bread,") says, after this, "the 
Friends of the deceased, and Neighbours of the Village, who come to witness 
the Interment, are drawn up in rank and file, by an old Serjeant, or some vete- 
ran who has been in the Army, and who attends to maintain order, and give as 

c Mr. Pennant's MS. says : " At Skiv'og, from the Park to the Church / have seen the Bier car- 
ried by the next of kin, Husband, Brothers, and Father in law." "All along from the House to 
the Church Yard at every Cross-way, the Bier is laid down, and the Lord's Prayer rehearsed, and so 
when they first come into the Church Yard, before any of the Verses appointed in the Service be 
said. There is a Custom of ringing a little Bell before the Corps, from the House to the Church 
Yard. (Dymerchion.) Some particular places are called resting places. 

" Skyvi'og. When a Corps is carried to Church from any part of the Town, the Bearers take care 
to carry it so that the Corps may be on their right hand, though the way be nearer and it be less 
trouble to go on the other side : nor will they bring the Corps through any other way than 
the South gate. 

" If it should happen to rain while the Corps is carried to Church, it is reckoned to bode well 
to the deceased, whose Bier is wet with the dew of Heaven. At Church the Evening Service is read, 
with the Office of Burial. The Minister goes to the Altar, and there says the Lord's Prayer, with 
one of the Prayers appointed to be read at the Grave : after which the Congregation offer upon the 
Altar, or on a little Board for that purpose fixed to the Rails of the Altar, their Benevolence to 
the officiating Minister. A friend of the deceased is appointed to stand at the Altar, observing who 
gives, and how much. When all have given, he counts the Money with the Minister, and signifies 
the Sum to the Congregation, thanking them all for their good will." 

We read, in the Glossary to Kennett's Parochial Antiquities, v. OBLATIONRS Funerales : 

" At the burial of the Dead, it was a Custom for the surviving friends to offer liberally at the 
Altar for the pious use of the priest, and the good estate of the soul of the deceased. This pious 
Custom does still obtain in North Wales, where at the Rails which decently defend the Com- 
munion Table, I have seen a small tablet or flat-board, convcnient'y fixt, to receive the money, 
which at every Funeral is offered by the surviving friends, according to their own ability, and the 
quality of the party deceased. Which seems a providential augmentation to some of those poor 


they term it here, the word of relief. Upon his crying Relief! the four under 
the bier prepare to leave their stations, and make room for other lour, that in- 
stantly succeed. This progression is observed at the interval of every five 
minutes, till the whole attendants come in regularly, and, if the distance requires 
it, there is a second, a third, or a fourth round of such evolutions gone through. 
When the persons present are not inflamed with liquor, there is a profound 
silence generally observed, from the time the Corpse has been taken up till the 
interment is over d ." 

The Custom of giving 




Doles were used at Funerals, as we learn from St. Chrysostom, to procure 
Rest to the Soul of the deceased, that he might find his Judge propitious*. 
The giving of a Dole, and the inviting of the Poor b on this occasion, are syno- 

d In another part of the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vii. p. 622- Dundonald Parish, 
Ayreshire, we read : " Country Burials are not well regulated. The Company are invited at 1 1- 
o'clock forenoon, but they are probably not all arrived at 2. Till of late a Pipe and Tobacco was 
provided for every one of the Company ; but this Custom is entirely laid aside." 

a MaXXev Ji -n pfra Tctura TrsvijTaj naAsi"; ; ia u; amiravtrm a.-!ri\8ri lira t\iu <7j TOV Jixaorni'. 1 (omilkl 

\x\ii. in Matthei cap. non. 

b Preterea convocabantur et invitabantur necdum Sacerdotes et Religiosi, sed et egeni pau- 
peres." Durand. 

Had our famous Poet, Mr. Pope, an eye to this in ordering by will poor men to support his 

By the Will of William de Montacute, Earl of Salisbury, executed April 29. 1397. he directs 
" that twenty-five shillings should be daily distributed among three hundred poor people from the 
time of his death to the arrival of his Body at the Conventual. Church of Bustlesham, in which it 
was to be deposited." See Warner's Topographical Remarks relating to the South- Western Parts 
of Hampshire, vol. ii. p. 73. 

Strutt, in his English Era, tells us, that Sir Robert Knolles in the eighth year of Henry IV. died 
at his Manor in Norfolk, and his dead Body was brought in a Litter to London with great pomp 


nimous terms. There are some strong figurative expressions on this subject, in 
St. Ambrose's Funeral Oration on Satyrus, cited by Durand, speaking of those 

and much Torch Light, and it was buried in the White Friars Church, " where was done for him 
a solemn Obsequie, \vith a great Feaste and lyberal Dote to the poore." This Custom, says Strutt, 
of giving a Funeral Feast to the chief Mourners, was universally practised all over the Kingdom, as 
well as giving Alms to the poor, in proportion to the Quality and Finances of the deceased. Man- 
ners and Customs, vol. ii. p. 209. 

See a curious Account of Doles in Dr. Ducarel's Tour through Normandy, fol. edit. p. 81. 
Among the Articles of Expence at the Funeral of Sir John Rudstone, Mayor of London, 1531. 
given by Strutt (Manners and Customs, vol. iii. p. 169.) from MS Harl. 1231. we find the follow- 
ing charges : 

*. d. 
"Item, to the priests at his ennelling *. . . . O 9 

To poor folke in almys 1 5 O 

22 Days to 6 poor folke 2 

26 Days to a poor folke 8" 

Hutchinson, in his History of Cumberland, vol. i. p. 579. speaking of Eskdale chapelry, says : 
"Wakes and Doles are customary; and weddings, christenings, and Funerals, are always attended 
by the Neighbours, sometimes to the amount of a hundred people. The popular diversions are 
hunting and cockfighting." 

Mr. Nichols, in his History of Leicestershire, (vol. ii. part i. p. 357.) speaking of Stathern in 
Framland Hundred, says : " In 1790, there were 432 Inhabitants ; the number taken by the last 
person who carried about Bread, which was given for dole at a Funeral j a Custom formerly com- 
mon throughout this part of England, though now fallen much into disuse." " The practice was 
sometimes to bequeath it by Will ; but, whether so specified or not, the ceremony was seldom omit- 
ted. On such occasions a small Loaf was sent to every person, without any distinction of age or 
circumstances, and not to receive it was a mark of particular disrespect f." 

Mr. Pennant in his History of Whiteford Parish, p. 99. says : " Offerings at Funerals are kept 
up here, and I believe, in all the Welsh Churches." 

Mr. Pennant's MS. relative to North Wales, says : " In North Wales, pence and half-pence, (in 
lieu of little rolls of Bread) which were heretofore, and by some still are, given on these occasions, 
are now distributed to the poor, who flock in great numbers to the house of the dead before the 

* The receiving of extreme unction. 

f Mr. Lysons, in his Environs of London, vol. iii. p. 341. speaking of some lands said to have been given by 
two maiden gentlewomen, to the parish of Paddington, for the purpose of distributing Bread, Cheese, and Beer, 
among the inhabitants on the Sunday before Christmas Day, tells us that they are now let at 21i. per annum, 
and that " the bread was formerly thrown from the Church steeple to be scrambled for, and part of it is still dis- 
tributed in that way." 


who mourned on the occasion, he says : "The poor also shed their Tears ; pre-~> 
cious and fruitful Tears, that washed away the Sins of the deceased. They let 
fall floods of redeeming Teares." From such passages as the above in the first / 
Christian Writers , literally understood, the Romanists may have derived their | 
superstitious doctrine of praying for the dead. 

corpse is brought out. When the corpse is brought out of the house, layd upon the bier and co- 
vered, before it be taken up, the next of kin to the deceased, widow, mother, daughter or cousin, 
(never done by a man) gives over the corps to one of the poorest Neighbours three Zd. or four 3d. 
white Loaves of Bread, or a Cheese with a piece of money stuck in it, and then a new wooden Cup of 
Drink, which some will require the poor person who receives it immediately to drink a little of. 
When this is done, the Minister, if present, says the Lord's Prayer, and then they set forward for 
Church. The things mentioned above as given to a poor Body, are brought upon a large Dish, 
over the Corpse, and the poor Body returns thanks for them, and blesses God for the happiness of 
his Friend and Neighbour deceased." [This custom is evidently a remain of the Sin-Eating, 
see pp.155. 156.] 

It appears from the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. v. p. 523. that at Glasgow large Dona- 
tions at Funerals are made to the Poor, " which are never less than s!5. and never exceed ten 
Guineas, in which case the Bells of the City are tolled." 

In " Dives and Pauper," First Precept, chap. 63. we read : " Dives. What seyst thou of them that 
wole no solemnyte have in their buryinge, but be putt in erthe anon, and that that shulde be 
spent aboute the buriyng they bydde that it shulde be yoren to the pore folke blynde and lame ? 
Pauper. Comonly in such prive buriynges ben/J smalle doles and lytel almes yoven, and in sohmne 
luriynges been grete Doles and moche Almesse yoven for moche pore people come thanne to seke almesse. 
But whanne it is done prively, fewe wytte therof, and fewe come to axe almesse ! for they wote 
nat whanne ne where, ne whom they shulde axe it. And therefore I leve sikerly that summe fals 
Executoures that wolde kepe alle to themself, biganne firste this errour and this folye, that wolden 
make themself riche with ded inennys godes and nat dele to the pore after dedes wylle, as nowe all 
false Executoures use by Custome." 

c " The aunpient Fathers being veri desirous to move their audience unto charitye and almose 
dedes, did exhorte them to refresh the poore and to give almoses in the Funeralles, & Yeares Myndes 
of their Frendes & Kynnesfolksg, in stedde of the bankettes that the paynymes & Heathen were 
wont to make at suche doinges, and in stedde of the Meates that they did bring to their Sepulchres 
and Graves." " The Huntynge of Purgatory," by Veron. 8vo. Lond. 1561. fol. 1OG. 



" Oft in the lone Church Yard at Night I've seen 
By glimpse of Moon-shine, checqu'ring thro' the Trees, 
The School-boy, with his Satchel in his hand, 
Whistling aloud to bear his courage up, 
And, lightly tripping o'er the long flat stones 
(With Nettles skirted, and with Moss o'ergrown,) 
That tell in homely phrase who lie below. 
Sudden he starts ! and hears, or thinks he hears, 
The sound of something purring at his heels : 
Full fast he flies, and dares not look behind him. 
Till, out of Breath, he overtakes his fellows ; 
Who gather round, and wonder at the Tale 
Of horrid Apparition, tall and ghastly, 
That walks at dead of Night, or takes his stand, 
O'er some new open'd Grave ; and (strange to tell !) 
Evanishes at crowing of the Cock." 

Blair's Grave. 

It having been a current opinion in the times of Heathenism, that places of 
Burial were frequently haunted with Spectres and Apparitions, it is easy to ima- 
gine that the opinion has been transmitted from them, among the ignorant and 
unlearned, throughout all the Ages of Christianity to this present Day. The 
Antients believed that the Ghosts of departed persons came out of their Tombs 
and Sepulchres, and wandered about the place where their remains lay buried. 
Thus Virgil tells us, that Mceris could call the Ghosts out of their Sepulchres; 
and Ovid, that Ghosts came out of their Sepulchres and wandered about : and 
Clemens Alexandrinus, in his Admonitions to the Gentiles, upbraids them with 


the Gods they worshipped ; which, says he, are wont to appear at Tombs and 
Sepulchres, and which are nothing but fading Spectres and airy Forms a . 

We learn from Moresin b , that Church Yards were used for the purposes of 
Interment in order to remove Superstition. Burial was in antient Times with- 
out the Walls of Cities and Towns. Lycurgus, he tells us, first introduced Grave 
Stones within the Walls, and as it were brought home the Ghosts to the very 
doors. Thus we compel Horses, that are apt to startle, to make the nearest ap- 
proaches we can to the objects at which they have taken the alarm. 

Church Yards are certainly as little frequented by Apparitions and Ghosts 
as other places, and therefore it is a weakness to be afraid of passing through 
them. Superstition, however, will always attend Ignorance; and the Night c , 

1 " Mcerin saepe anioias iinis excire Sepulchris, 

vidi." Virg. Bucol. viii. 1. 98. 

" Nunc animae tenues Sepulchris errant." 

Ovid. Fasti. 

Admonit. ad Gent. p. 37. The learned Mede observes from a passage of this same antient Father, 
" That the Heathens supposed the presence and power of Daemons (for so the Greeks called the Souls 
of Men departed) at their Coffins and Sepulchres : as tho' there always remained some natural tie 
between the deceased and their Relicts." Bourne, chap. vii. 

b "Coemeteria hinc sunt. Lycurgus, omni superstitione sublata, et ut vanae Superstitionis 
omnem evelleret e mentibus suorum formidinem, inhuman intra Urbem et Sepulchra extrui circa 
Deorum Templa, &c." Papatus, p. 40. 

Mr. Strutt tells us, in his Manners and Customs, English .(Era, vol. i. p. 69. that before the time 
of Christianity it was held unlawful to bury the dead within the Cities, but they used to carry them 
out into the Fields hard by, and there deposited them. Towards the end of the sixth Century, 
Augustine obtained of king Ethelbert, a Temple of Idols, (where the King used to worship before 
his convei-sion) and made a Burying Place of it ; but St. Cuthbert afterwards obtained leave to have 
Yards made to' the Churches, proper for the reception of the dead." 

In Articles to be enquired of in the ordinary Visitation of the right worshipful! Mr. Dr. Pearson, 
Archdeacon of Suffolke, A. D. 1638. Quarto. Under the head of Churchyards we read : " Have any 
Playes, Feasts, Banquets, Suppers, Church Ales, Drinkings, Temporal Courts or Leets, Lay Juriet, 
Musters, Exercise of Daunting, Stoole ball, Foot ball, or the like, or any other prophane usage beea 
suffered to be kept in your Church, Chappell, or Church Yard ?" 
c " Now it is the Time of Night, 

That the Graves, all gaping wide. 


as she continues to be the Mother of Dews, will also never fail of being the 
fruitful parent of chimerical Fears. 

" When the Sun sets, Shadows that shew'd at Noon 
But small, appear most long and terrible." 


There is a singular Superstition respecting the Burial in that part of the 
Church Yard which lies North of the Church, that still pervades many of the 
inland parts and Northern Districts of this Kingdom, though every idea of it has 
been eradicated in the vicinity of the Metropolis. It is that that is the part ap- 
propriated for the Interment of unbaptized Infants, of persons excommunicated, 
or that have been executed, or that have laid violent hands upon themselves d . 

Ev'ry one lets forth his Sprite 

In the Church-way path to glide." 


* In a most curious and rare Tract, entitled, " Martin's Month's Mind, that is, a certaine Re- 
port and true Description of the Death and Funeralls of olde Martin Marreprelate, the great 
Makebate of England, and Father of the Factious : contayning the Cause of his Death, the Man- 
ner of his Buriall, and the right Copies both of his Will, and of such Epitaphs as by sundrie of 
his dearest Friends, were framed for him," 4to. 1589. we read: " He died excommunicate, and 
they might not therefore burie him in Christian Buriall, and his Will was not to come there in any 
wise. His Bodie should not be buried in any Church, (especiallye Cathedral!, which ever he de- 
tested,) Chappell, nor Church Yard ; for they have been prophaned with Superstition. He 
would not be laid East and West, (for he ever went against the haire,) but North and South: I 
thinke because ' Ab Aquilone omne malum,' and the South wind ever brings corruption with it." 
Signat. G. and G 4. 

" Christians distinguished their Oratories into an Atrium, a Church Yard ; a Sanctum, a Church ; 
a Sanctum Sanctorum, a Chancell. They did conceive a greater degree of Sanctitie in one of 
them, than in another, and in one place of them than another, Churchyards they thought pro- 
fained by Sports, the whole circuit both before and after Christ was privileged for refuge, none 
out of the Communion of the Kirke permitted to lie there, any consecrate Ground preferred for 
Interment before that which was not consecrat, and that in an higher esteem which was in an 
higher degree of Consecration, and that in the highest which was neerest the Altar." 

D. Laurence, Chaplain in Ordinary, in his Sermon preached before the King, and printed 
at the command of authoritie, p. 9. as cited in " Ladensium Aytokatakrisis, the Canterburian's 
Self-conviction, or the evident Demonstration of the avowed Arminianisme, Poperie, and Tyrannic 
of that faction, written in March and printed in April 1640. p. 83. Note. 


Moresin says that in Popish Burying Grounds, those who were reputed good 

In "The Wise and Faithful Steward, or a Narration of the exemplary Death of Mr. Benjamin 
Rhodes, Steward to Thomas Earl of Elgin, &c. by P. Samwaies, his Lordship's Chaplain, 8vo. Lond. 
1657. p. 27. we read : " He requested to be interred in the open Church Yard, on the North side 
(to crosse the received superstition, as he thought, of the constant choice of the South side,) near the 
new Chappel." Rhodes was interred in Maiden Church in Bedfordshire. 

In White's History of Selborne, p. 322. speaking of the Church Yard, that Writer observes : 
" Considering the size of the Church, and the extent of the Parish, the Church Yard is very 
scanty ; and especially as all wish to be buried on the South side, which is become such a Mass 
of Mortality, that no person can be there interred without disturbing or displacing the Bones of 
his Ancestors. There is reason to suppose that it once was larger, and extended to what is 
now the Vicarage Court and Garden. At the East end are a few Graves ; yet none, till very lately, 
on the North side ; but as two or three Families of best repute have begun to bury in that 
quarter, prejudice may wear out by degrees, and their example be followed by the rest of the 

[Sir John Cullum, in the History and Antiquities of Hawsted in the County of Suffolk, 4to. 
Lond. 1784. Bibl. Top. Brit. No. xxiii. p. 38. says : " There is a great partiality here, to burying 
on the South and East sides of the Church Yard. About twenty years ago, when I first became 
Rector, and observed how those sides (particularly the South) were crowded with Graves, I pre- 
vailed upon a few persons to bury their friends on the North, which was entirely vacant ; but the 
example was not followed as I hoped it would : and they continue to bury on the South, where a 
Corpse is rarely interred without disturbing the bones of its Ancestors. 

" This partiality may perhaps at first have partly arisen from the antient Custom of praying for 
the dead ; for as the usual approach to this and most Country Churches is by the South, it was 
natural for burials to be on that side, that those who were going to divine service might, in 
their way, by the sight of the graves of their friends, be put in mind to offer up a prayer for 
the welfare of their souls ; and even now, since the custom of praying for the dead is abolished, 
the same obvious situation of Graves may excite some tender recollection in those who view them, 
and silently implore ' the passing tribute of a sigh.' That this motive has its influence, may be 
concluded from the Graves that appear on the North side of the Church Yard, when the ap- 
proach to the Church happens to be that way ; of this there are some few instances in this 

Pennant, speaking of Whiteford Church, (Hist, of Hollywell and Whiteford, p. 102.) says : 
" I step into the Church Yard and sigh over the number of departed which fill the inevitable re- 
treat. In no distant time the North side, like those of all other Welsh Churches, was, through 
some Superstition, to be occupied only by persons executed, or by Suicides. It is now nearly as 
much crowded as the other parts." 

198 CHUntH YARDS. 

Christians lay towards the South and East ; others, who had suffered capital 
punishment, laid violent hands on themselves, or the like, were buried towards 
the North : a custom that had formerly been of frequent use in Scotland e . 

Mr. Pennant's MS. says, that, in North Wales none but excommunicated, or very poor and friend- 
less people, are buried on the North side of the Church Yard. 

In the Cambrian Register, 8vo. 179C. p. 374. Notes, is the following very apposite passage re- 
specting Church Yards in Wales. " In Country Church Yards the Relations of the deceased crowd 
them into that part which is South of the Church ; the North side, in their Opinion, being unhallowed 
Ground, Jit only to be the Dormitory of still-born Infants and Suicides. For an example to his neigh- 
bours, and as well to escape the barbarities of the Sextons, the Writer of the above Account 
ordered himself to be buried on the North side of the Church Yard. But as he was accounted an 
Infidel when alive, his Neighbours could not think it creditable to associate with him when dead. 
His dust, therefore, is likely to pass a solitary retirement, and for ages to remain undisturbed by 
the hands of Men." 

In the printed Trial of Robert Fitzgerald, Esq. and others, for the murder of Patrick Randal 
M'Donnel, Esq. &c. 4to. p. 19. we read : " The body of Mr. Fitzgerald, immediately after execu- 
tion, was carried to the ruins of Turlagh House, and was waked in a Stable adjoining, with a few 
Candles placed about it. On the next day it was carried to the Church Yard of Turlagh, where he 
was buried on what is generally termed the WRONG SIDE OF THE CHURCH, in his deaths, without 
a Coffin." The above Murder, Trial, &c. happened in Ireland in the year 1786. 

In " Paradoxical Assertions and Philosophical Problems, by R. H." 8vo. Lond. 1664. p. 45. 

we read: 

" Coelo tegitur, qui non habet urnam. 

" Doubtless that Man's Bones in the North Church Yard rest in more quiet than his that liei 
entomb'd in the Chancel." 

c " In Coemeteriis pontilkiis, boni, quos putant, ad austrum et oriens, reliqui, qui aut sup- 
plicio affecti, aut sibi vim fecissent, et id genus ad Septentrionem sepeliantur, ut frequens olim 
Scotisfuit mos." Moresini Papatus. p. 157. 

From what has been already quoted from Martin's Month's Mind, it should appear too that 
there was something honourable or dishonourable in the position of the Graves : the common and 
honourable direction is from East to West, the dishonourable one from North to South. 

The famous antiquary Thomas Hearne had such correct notions on this head, that he left orders 
for his Grave to be made strait by a Compass, due East and West : in consequence of which his 
Monument, which I have often seen, is placed in a direction not parallel with any of the other. 
Graves. Its being placed seemingly awry, gives it a very remarkable appearance. 

Craven Ord, Esq. informed me that " at the East end of the Chancel, in the Church Yard, of 
Fornham All Saints, near Bury, Suffolk, is the coffin-shaped Monument of Henrietta Maria Corn- 


Mr. Gough, in the Introduction to the second Volume of his Sepulchral 
Monuments in Great Britain, p. cciv. says : " It is the Custom at this day all 
over Wales to strew the Graves, both within and without the Church, with 
green herbs, branches of Box, flowers, rushes, and flags, for one year ; after 

wallis, who died in 1707. It stands North and South, and the Parish tradition says that she 
ordered that position of it as a mark of penitence and humiliation." 

Sir John Ashburnham,=pElizabeth Baroness Gramond 

in Scotland. 

Frederick Cornwallis,=;=Eliz. 
1st Lord, died 1661. 

Henrietta Maria, Charles Cornwallis, 

died 17O7, s. p. 2d Lord Cornwallis. 

I find in Durandi Rationale, Lib. vii. De Officio Mortuorum, cap. 35 39. the following: 
" Debet autein quis sic sepeliri, ut capite ad occidentem posito, pedes dirigat ad Orientem, in quo 
quasi ipsa positione orat : et innuit quod promptus est, ut de occasu festinet ad ortum : de Mundo 
ad Seculum." 

" As to the position in the Grave, though we decline," says Sir Thomas Browne in his Urne- 
1 >i trial, " the religious consideration, yet in coemeterial and narrower burying places, to avoid 
confusion and cross-position, a certain posture were to be admitted. The Persians lay North and 
South : the Megarians and Phoenicians placed their heads to the East: the Athenians, some think, 
towards the West, which Christians still retain : and Bede will have it to be the posture of our 
Saviour. That Christians buried their dead on their backs, or in a supine position, seems agree- 
able to profound sleep and the common posture of dying ; contrary also to the most natural way 
of Birth ; not unlike our pendulous posture in the doubtful state of the womb. Diogenes was 
singular, who preferred a prone situation in the Grave ; and some Christians like neither, (Rus- 
sians, &c.) who decline the figure of rest, and make choice of an erect posture*." 

In "Articles of Enquiry" (with some Directions intermingled,) " for the Dioecese of Ely, in the 
second Visitation of the R. R. Father in God Matthew," (Wren,) " Lord Bishop of that Dicecese, 
Anno Dom. 1662. 4to. Lond. 1662. p. 6. speaking of Church Yards, it is asked, "When Graves 
are digged, are they made six foot deep, (at the least,) and East and West ?" 

In Cymbeline, Act iv. sc. 2. Guiderius, speaking of the apparently dead Body of Imogen, dis- 

* A Correspondent says: " Die an old Maid, and be buried with my Face downwards:" 1 have seen this ex. 
pressiou in some work by Waldron. 


which, such as can afford it lay down a Stone, Mr. Grose calls this a filthy 
custom, because he happened to see some of the flowers dead and turned to 
dung, and some bones and bits of Coffins scattered about in Ewenny Church, 

guised in Men's apparel, says : " Nay, Cadwal, we must lay his head to the East; my Father has a 
reason for't." 

There is a passage in the Grave- Digger's Scene in Hamlet, Act v. sc. 1. 

" Make her Grave straight ;" 

which Dr. Johnson has thus explained : " Make her Grave from East to West, in a direct line 
parallel to the Church ; not from North to South, athwart the regular line. This I think is 

Under this idea, the context must be thus explained : the two Grave-Diggers, with their imple- 
ments over their shoulders, come, as they have been directed, to make Ophelia's Grave. The first 
asks, Must I make the Grave of her who has been a Suicide like that of other Christians ? She is 
to be buried so, says the other, therefore make her Grave straight, i. e. parallel with those of other 
Christians. This explanation seems to do more honour to Shakspeare, who was not likely to 
make his Characters ask such superfluous questions as whether a Grave was to be made, when 
they had evidently come with an intention to make it. 

Mr. Douce's MS Notes say : " I am of Mr. Steevens's opinion, who thinks that this means no- 
thing more than ' make her Grave immediately.' The construction of the passage seems to be this. The 
first Clown, doubting whether on account of Ophelia's having destroyed herself, she would be per- 
mitted to have Christian Burial, asks the other whether it is really to be so, who answers that it 
is, and desires him to proceed immediately about the business. He afterwards adds that if Ophelia 
had been a common person, she would not have had Christian Burial ; that is, in the Church Yard, 
or consecrated ground. 

" The passage from Moresin seems to indicate that Suicides were buried on the North side of 
the Church, not that the head was placed Northward. It is probable that although they were sepa- 
rated from others, the same position of the Body, that is the face to the East, would be observed, 
nor do I believe that any instance of the contrary can be produced. Those who committed Suicide 
were not to have ecclesiastical Sepulture. See Astesani Summa de Casibus Conscientias, Lib. vi. 
tit. 30. ad tinem. 

" In the 5th Act of Hamlet, the priest is made to say that Ophelia, upon account of the doubt- 
fulness of her Death, was abridged of the full solemnities of Christian Burial. 
And but that great command o'ersways the order, 
She should in ground unsanctified have lodg'd 
Till the last trumpet ; for charitable prayers, 
Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown upon her. 

But as she was to have Christian Burial, there could be no reason for the Clown's debating whe- 


" The common Welsh Graves are curiously matted round with single or 
double Matting, and stuck with flowers, Box, or Laurel, which are frequently 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xiv. 8vo. Edinb. 17.95. p. 210. 
Parishes of Kilfinichen and Kilvicevfin, County of Argyll, we read : The inha- 
bitants " are by no means superstitious, yet they still retain some opinions 
handed down by their Ancestors, perhaps from the time of the Druids. It is 

ther the Grave was to be made straight or crooked, North or East. Had the first Clown doubted 
this, his first question would have been whether the Grave was to have been dug straight ?" 

Arnot, in his History of Edinburgh, p. 252. speaking of St. Leonard Hill, says, " In a Northern 
part of it," (he mentioned before that part of it was the Quakers' Burying-ground,) " Children 
who have died without receiving Baptism, and Men who have fallen by their own hand, use to be 


" Infantumque Animae flentes in limine primo : 

Quos dulcis Vita? exsortis ; et ab ubere raptos, 

Abstulit atra dies, et funere mersit acerbo. 

Proxima deinde tenent msesti loca, qui sibi letum 

Insontes peperere manu, lucemque perosi 

Projecere Animas." Virg. JEn. 1. vi. 427. 

In Malkin's " Scenery, Antiquities and Biography of South Wales," 4to. Lond. 1804. p. 261. we 
read : " The custom of dancing in the Church-yard at their Feasts and Revels is universal in Rad- 
norshire, and very common in other parts of the Principality. Indeed this solemn abode is ren- 
dered a kind of Circus for every sport and exercise. The young Men play at Fives and Tennis 
against the wall of the Church. It is not however to be understood that they literally dance over 
the Graves of their progenitors. This amusement takes place on the North side of the Church-yard, 
where it is the custom not to bury. It is rather singular, however, that the association of the place, 
surrounded by memorials of mortality, should not deaden the impulses of joy in minds, in other 
respects not insensible to the suggestions of vulgar superstition." 

Ibid. p. 281. " Aberedwy." " In this Church Yard are two uncommonly large Yew Trees, evi- 
dently of great-age, but in unimpaired luxuriance and preservation, under the shade of which an 
intelligent Clergyman of the neighbourhood informed me that he had frequently seen sixty Couple 
dancing at Aberedwy Feast on the 14th of June. The boughs of the two trees intertwine, and 
afford ample space for the evolutions of so numerous a company within their ample covering." 

In " The Description of the Isles of Scotland," by J. Monneypenny, 4to. under the Island of 
Rona is the following passage : 

" There is in this Island a Chapel dedicated to Saint Ronan : wherein (as aged men report) 
there is alwayes a Spade wherewith when as any is dead, they find the place of his Grave marked." 
For an account of this Book see Cough's British Topography, vol. ii. p. 568. 


believed by them that the Spirit of the last person that was buried watches 
round the Church Yard till another is buried, to whom he delivers his charge." 
In the same Work, vol. xxi. p. 144. it is said, "in one division of this County, 
where it was believed that the Ghost of the person last buried. kept the Gate of 
the Church Yard till relieved by the next victim of Death, a singular scene oc- 
curred, when two Burials were to take place in one Church Yard on the same 
day. Both parties staggered forward as fast as possible to consign their respec- 
tive friend in the first place to the dust. If they met at the Gate, the dead 
were thrown down till the living decided by blows whose ghost should be con- 
demned to porter it a ." 

in our Churches and Church Yards 

over the 

The Custom of laying flat Stones in our Churches and Church Yards over the 
Graves of better sort of persons, on which are inscribed Epitaphs containing the 

a The following is an extract from the old Register-book of Christ Church in Hampshire : 
" April 14. 1604. Christian Steevens, the wife of Thomas Steevens, was buried in Child-birth, and 
buried by Women, for she was a Papishe." Warner's Topographical Remarks relating to the South- 
western Parts of Hampshire, vol. ii. p. 130. 

In " The Living Librarie, &c. Englished by John Molle, Esq." fol. Lond. 1621. p. 283. we read: 
" Who would beleeve without superstition, (if experience did not make it credible,) that most 
commonly all the BEES die in their Hives, if the Master or Mistresse of the House .chance to die, 
except the Hives be presently removed into some other place. And yet I know this hath hapned to 
folke no way stained with superstition." 

A vulgar prejudice prevails in many places of England that when Bees remove or go away 
from their Hives, the owner of them will die soon after. 

A Clergyman in Devonshire informed me that when any Devonian makes a purchase of Bees, 
the payment is never made in money, but in things, (Corn for instance,) to the value of the sum 
agreed upon. And the Bees are never removed but on a Good Friday. 

I found the following in the Argus, a London Newspaper, Sept. 13. 1790. " A superstitious 
custom prevails at every Funeral in Devonshire, of turning round the Bee-hives that belonged to 
the deceased, if he had any, and that at the moment the Corpse is carrying out of the House. 


name, age, character, &c. of the deceased, has been transmitted from very an- 
tient times, as appears from the writings of Cicero and others \ 




It is still the Custom in many Country Churches b to hang a Garland of 
Flowers over the Seats of deceased Virgins, in token, says Bourne, of esteem 
and love, and as an emblem of their reward in the heavenly Church. It was 
usual in the primitive Christian Church to place Crowns of Flowers at the heads 

At a Funeral some time since at Cullompton, of a rich old Farmer, a laughable circumstance of this 
sort occurred : for just as the Corpse was placed in the Herse, and the horsemen, to a large num- 
ber, were drawn up in order for the procession of the Funeral, a person called out, " turn the Bees," 
when a Servant who had no knowledge of such a Custom, instead of turning the Hives about, 
lifted them up, and then laid them down on their sides. The Bees, thus hastily invaded, instantly 
attacked and fastened on the Horses and their Riders. It was in vain they gallopped off, the Bees 
as precipitately followed, and left their stings as marks of their indignation. A general Confusion 
took place, attended with loss of Hats, Wigs, &c. and the Corpse during the conflict was left unat- 
tended ; nor was it till after a considerable time that the Funeral Attendants could be rallied, in 
order to proceed to the interment of their deceased friend." 
1 Cicero de Legibus. xi. 

" Lapidea Mensa terra operitur humato corpora hominis qui aliquo sit numero, quae contineat 
laudem et nomen Mortui incisum. Mos retinetur." Moresini Papatus, &c. p. 86. 

In Malkin's " Scenery, Antiquities, and Biography of South Wales," 4to. Lond. 18O4. p. 604. 
under Glamorganshire, in Mr. Mason's Elegy written in Neath Church Yard, we read : 
" And round that Fane the sons of Toil repose, 

Who drove the plough-share, or the sail who spread, 
With Wives, with Children, all in measur'd rows, 
Two whiten'd Stones well mark the feet and head." 

Explained p. COS. " The Stones at each end of the Grave are whitened with lime eveiy Christmas. 
Easter, and Whitsuntide." 

k In Yorkshire, as a Clergyman of that County informed me, when a Virgin dies in a Village, 
one, nearest to her in size, and age, and resemblance, carries the Garland before the Corpse in 
the Funeral Procession, which is afterwards hung up in the Church. This is sometimes composed 
entirely ot' white paper, and at others, the Flowers, &c. [cut out upon it] are coloured. 


of deceased Virgins : for this we have the authority of Datnascen, Gregory 
Nyssen, St. Jerom, and St. Austin. 

In the earliest ages of Christianity, Virginity was honoured, out of deference 
most likely to the Virgin Mother d , with almost divine adoration, and there is 

There appeared in the London Morning Chronicle for Sept. 25th, 1792. an elegiac Ode from 
the elegant pen of Miss Seward, wherein, speaking of the village of Eyam in Derbyshire, this pas- 
sage occurs: 

" Now the low Beams with Paper Garlands hung, 

In memory of some Village Youth or Maid, 
Draw the soft tear, from thrill'd remembrance sprung, 
How oft my Childhood mark'd that tribute paid. 

The Gloves suspended by the Garland's side, 
White as its snowy Flow'rs with Ribbands tied. 
Dear Village ! long these Wreaths funereal spread 
Simple memorial of the early dead !" 

The following Note is subjoined : " The antient custom of hanging a Garland of white Roses 
made of writing paper, and a pair of white Gloves, over the Pew of the unmarried Villagers who 
die in the flower of their age, prevails to this day in the village of Eyam, and in most other Vil- 
lages and little Towns in the Peak*." 

Mr. Nichols, in his History of Leicestershire, Vol. II. P. i. p. 382. speaking of Waltham in 
Framland Hundred, says: "In this Church, under every arch, a Garland is suspended; one of 
which is customarily placed there whenever any young unmarried Woman dies." 

From the Minute Book of the Society of Antiquaries it appears that on June 4th, 1747. a Letter 
was read by the Secretary " from Mr. Edward Steel of Bromley, concerning the Custom of bury- 
ing the dead, especially Bachelors and Maidens, with Garlands of Flowers, &c. used formerly in 
several parts of this Kingdom." 

c " Fuit quoque Mos ad Capita Virginum apponendi florum Coronas," &c. Cass. de vet. sac. 

Christi. p. 334. 

" Some say no evil thing that walks by night, 

In Fog or Fire, by Lake, or moorish Fen, 
Blue meager Hag, or stubborn unlaid Ghost, 
That breaks his magic chains at Curfeu time, 
No Goblin, or swart Faery of the Mine, 

Hath hurtful power o'er tnie Virginity." Milton's Cbmus. 

* " In North Wales," as Mr. Pennant's MS. informs us, " when they bless another, Ihey are 
very apt to join to the blessing of God, the blessing of white Mary f." 

Coles, in his Introduction to the Knowledge of Plants, [probably speaking of the Metropolis only,] p. 64. 
says : " It is not very long since the Custome of setting up Garlands in Churches hath been left off with us." 

t The following Legend, intended to honour the Virgin Mother, is given in " A Short Relation of the River 
Nile," &c. 12mo. Lond. 1672. p. 87. The Writer says, " Eating some Dates with an old Man, but a credulous 


little doubt but that the origin of Nunneries is closely connected with that of the 
Virgin Garland. 

A writer in the Antiquarian Repertory, vol. iv. p. 239- says : " that in this 

nation, as well as others, by the abundant zeal of our Ancestors, Virginity was 

held in great estimation : insomuch that those who died in that state were 

\ rewarded at their death with a Garland or Crown on their heads, denoting their 

[^triumphant victory over the lusts of the flesh. Nay, this honour was extended 

even to a Widow who had never enjoyed but one Husband. These Garlands, 

or Crowns, were most artificially wrought in filagree work, with gold and silver 

wire, in resemblance of myrtle, with which plant the Funebrial Garlands of the 

Antients were always composed, whose leaves were fastened to Hoops of larger 

iron wire, and they were lined with cloth of silver. 

" Besides these Crowns, the Antients had also their depository Garlands, the 
use of which continued till of late years, and may perhaps still in some parts of 
England 6 . These Garlands, at the Funerals of the deceased, were carried 

In the Papal times in England, sometimes, the form of a last Testament ran thus : " Commendo 
Animam meam Deo, beatae Mariae, et omnibus Sanctis." 

e I saw in the Churches of Wolsingham and Stanhope, in the County of Durham, specimens of 
these Garlands : the form of a Woman's Glove, cut in white paper, hung in the centre of each of 

Mr. Douce saw a similar instance in the Church at Bolton in Craven, in 1J83. At Skipton too, 
the like Custom still prevails. 

[In 1794 the Editor of this Work saw Garlands of white paper hanging up in a Church no far- 
ther from the Metropolis than Paul's Cray in Kent.] 

The late Dr. Lort made the following observation in August 1785. " At Greys-foot Church, 
between Wrexham and Chester, were Garlands, or rather Shields, fixed against the pillars, finely 
decorated with artificial Flowers and cut gilt paper." 

The following occurs in the old Play entitled " The Dutch Courtezan." 

"I was afraid, I'faith, that I should ha seene a Garland on this beauties herse." 

Marston's Works, 8vo. Lond. 1633. Signal. D. 2. b. 

The Author of" The Comical Pilgrim's Pilgrimage into Ireland," 8vo. Lond. 1723. p. 92. gays : 
' When a Virgin dies, a Garland, made of all sorts of Flowers and sweet Herbs, is carried by a 

Christian, he said : ' that the Letter O remained upon the Stone of a Date for a remembrance that our bles- 
sed Lady, the Virgin, with her divine Babe in her arms, resting herself at the foot of a Palm-tree, (which in- 
clined her branches and offered a Cluster of Dates to her Creatour,) our Lady plucked some of the Dates and 
eating them, satisfied with the taste and flavour, cryed out in amazement, Oh.' how sweet they are ! This ex- 
clamation engraved the Letter O, the first word of her Speech, upon the Date Stone, which being vry hard, 
better preserved it'." 


solemnly before the Corpse by two Maids, and afterwards hung up in some 
conspicuous place within the Church, and were made in the following manner f : 
viz. the lower rim or circlet was a broad Hoop of wood, whereunto was fixed at 
the sides thereof part of two other Hoops, crossing each other at the top at 

young Woman on her head, before the Coffin, from which hang down two black Ribbons, signi- 
fying our mortal state, and two white, as an emblem of purity and innocence. The ends thereof 
are held by four young Maids, before whom a Basket full of Herbs and Flowers is supported by 
two other Maids, who strew them along the Streets to the place of Burial: then, after the deceased, 
follow all her relations and acquaintance." 

The following is copied from the Argus, Aug. 5. 1790. 

"Dublin, July 31. 

" Sunday being St. James's Day, the Votaries of St. James's Church Yard attended in considera- 
ble crowds at the Shrines of their departed Friends, and paid the usual tributary honours of paper 
Gloves and Garlands of Flowers on their Graves." 

There is a passage in Shakspeare's Hamlet, Act v. sc. 1. 

" Yet here she is allow'd her virgin crants," 

which seems to have been misunderstood by some of the Commentators. The editor of the first 
folio substitutes rites ; and Bishop Warburton thought the true word was chants : but Dr. Johnson 
says, " 1 have been informed by an anonymous correspondent, that Crants is the German word for 
Garlands, and I suppose it was retained by us from the Saxons. To carry Garlands before the bier 
of a Maiden, and to hang them over her Grave, is still the practice in rural parishes." See Reed's 
edit, of Shaksp. 1803. vol. xviii. p. 336. 

[" KR ANS, Sertum. Isl. & Belg. id. Germ. Icrantz. Helvigius natutn putat a xcpaw; ; alii a cranium ; 
Wachterus aC. B. crwnn, rotundus, quum circular! figura caput ambiat." Ihre. Gloss. Suio-Goth. 
torn. i. p. 1156.] 

f In a curious and very rare Book entitled " The Virgin's Pattern in the exemplary Life and 
lamented Death of Mrs. Susannah Perwich, who died at Hackney, July 3, 1661." Svo. Lond. 1661. 
we have the rites of a Virgin Lady's Funeral minutely described, p. 40. 

" The Herse, covered with velvet, was carried by six servant Maidens of the Family, all in 
white. The Sheet was held up by six of those Gentlewomen in the School that had most acquain- 
tance with her, in mourning habit, with white Scarfs and Gloves. A rich costly Garland of gum- 
work, adorned with Banners and Scutcheons, was borne immediately before the Herse by two 
proper young Ladies, that entirely loved her. Her Father and Mother, with other near relations 
and their children, followed next the Herse, in due order, all in mourning : the kindred next 
to them, after whom came the whole School of Gentlewomen, and then persons of chief rank 
from the neighbourhood and from the City of London, all in white Gloves, both Men, Women, 
Children, and Servants, having been first served with Wine. The Herse being set down (in Hackney 
Umrch) with the Garland upon it, the Rev. Dr. Spurstow preached her Funeral Sermon. This 


right angles, which formed the upper part, being about one third longer than 
the width. These Hoops were wholly covered with artificial Flowers of Paper, 
dyed Horn s, and Silk, and more or less beautiful according to the skill or in- 
genuity of the performer. In the vacancy of the inside from the top hung 
white paper cut in form of Gloves, whereon was written the deceased's name, 
age, &c. together with long slips of various coloured paper or ribbons : these 
were many times intermixed with gilded or painted empty shells of blown eggs, 
as farther ornaments, or it may be as emblems of bubbles, or [the] bitterness of 
this life : while other Garlands had only a solitary Hour-glass hanging therein, 
*s a more significant symbol of mortality." 
These Garlands are thus described by Gay : 

" To her sweet mem'ry flow'ry Garlands strung, 
On her now empty seat aloft were hung." 

done, the rich Coffin, anointed with sweet odors, was put down into the Grave in the middle alley 
of the said Church, &c." Her father, it seems, kept a great Boarding School for Young Ladies at 

In Articles of Enquiry for the Diocese of Ely, 4to. Lond. 1662. p. 7. I read as follows : " Are 
any Garlands and other ordinary Funeral Ensigns suffred to hang where they hinder the prospect, or 
until they grow foul and dusty, withered and rotten?" 

f This perhaps explains the following passage in "The Horn exalted, or Room for Cuckolds," 
Svo. Lond. 1661. p. 10. " Our Garlands in the Winter, and at Firgin's Funerals, are they not made 
of Horns ?" An Italian is speaking. 

WAX appears to have been used in the formation of these Garlands from the subsequent passage 
in a rare black letter Book, t. Eliz. on the Distinction of Dreames, by Thomas Hill, Signal. L. 
8. b. " A Garlande of Waxe (to dream of) signifyeth evill to all personnes, but especiallye to the 
Sicke, for as muche as it is commonlye occupyed aboute Burialls." 

Mr. Gough, in the Introduction to his second Volume of Sepulchral Monuments in Great Bri- 
tain, p. v. has the following passage : " The antients used to crown the deceased with Flowers, in 
token of the shortness of life : and the practice is still retained in some places in regard to young 
Women and Children. The Roman Ritual recommends it in regard of those who die soon after 
Baptism*, in token of purity and virginity. It still obtains in Holland and parts of Germany. 
The primitive Christians buried young Women with flowers, and Martyrs with the instruments of 
their martyrdom. I have seen fresh Flowers put into the Coffins of Children and young Girls." 

Cum igitur Infans vel Puer baptizatiis, defunctus fuerit ante usum Rationis, induitur juxta letatcm, et 
imponitur ei Corona de floritms, seu de herbis aromatiris et tdoriferis, in signum integritatis Cdrnis et Virgmi- 
tatit." See the " Ordo Baptizandi, &c. pro Anglia, Hibernia, et Scotia." ISroo. Par. 1636. p. 97, 


THE Custom of strewing Flowers upon the Graves of departed Fftends k 
which has been already incidentally noticed, is also derived from a Custom of 
the antient Church. St. Ambrose, in his Funeral Oration on the death of 
Valentinian, has these words : " I will not sprinkle his Grave with Flowers, but 
pour on his Spirit the odour of Christ. Let others scatter baskets of Flowers : 
Christ is our Lilly, and with this I will consecrate his Relicks'." And St. 
Jerome, in his Epistle to Pammachius upon the death of his Wife, tells us : 
'' Whilst other Husbands strewed Violets, Roses, Lillies, and purple Flowers 
upon the Graves of their Wives, and comforted themselves with such like offices, 
Pammachius bedewed her ashes and venerable bones with the balsam of 
Alms k ." 

Durand tells us that the antient Christians, after the Funeral, used to scatter 
Flowers on the Tomb 1 . There is a great deal of learning in Moresin upon this 
subject m . It appears from Pliny's Natural History, from Cicero in his Oration 
on Lucius Plancus, and from Virgil's sixth ./Eneid, that this was a Funeral rite 
among the Heathens. 

They used also to scatter them on the unburied Corpse. 

h Mr. Pennant's MS. says that in North Wales " the people kneel and say the Lord's Prayer on 
the Graves of their dead Friends for some Sundays after their interment : and this is done generally 
upon their first coming to Church, and, after that, they dress the Grave with Flowers. Llanvechan." 

* " Nee ego floribus Tumulum ejus aspergam, sed Spiritum ejus Christi odore perfundam ; 
spargant alii plenis Lilia Calathis ; nobis Lilium est Christus : Hoc reliquias ejus sacrabo." 
Ambros. Orat. Funebr. de Obitu Valentin. 

k " Creteri mariti super Tumulos Conjuguin spargunt Violas, Rosas, Lilia, floresque purpureos, 
& dolorem pectoris his Officiis consolantur : Pammachius noster sanctam favillam Ossaque vene- 
randa Eleemosynse babamis rigat." Hieron. Epist. ad Pammachium de Obitu Uxoris. 

1 " Condito et curato funere solebant nonnulli antiquitus Tumulum floribus adspergere." 
Durand. p. 237. 

m " Sepulchra funeralibus expletis quandoque floribus odoramentisque fuisse sparsa legimus. 
Idemque Mos cum in plerisque Regionibus Italia?, turn maxime in subjectis Appennino collibus, 
Romandiolae alicubi tetate nostra servatur. Adhibita sunt post Funeralia in Templis Ornamenta, 
Clypei, Coronas., et hujusmodi donaria, quod nostra quoque jEtas in nobilibus et honoratis Viris 
servat." Moresini Papatus. p. 156. 

Hence our custom of hanging up over the Tombs of Knights, &c. Banners, Spurs, and other 
insignia of their Order. 

" Flores et Serta, educto Cadavere, certatim injiciebant Athenienses. Guichard. Lib. ii. cap. 3. 
Funeral. Retinent Papani morem." Ibid. p. 61. 


Gay describes thus the strewing of Flowers upon the Graves : 

" Upon her Grave the Rosemary they threw, 
The Daisy, Butter'd-flow'r, and Endive hluen." 

Mr. Gough, in the Introduction to the second Volume of the Sepulchral Monuments, p. \viii. 
speaking of the Feralia, says : " The Tombs were decked with Flowers, particularly Roses and 
Lilies. The Greeks used the Amaranth and the Polianthus, one species of which resembles the 
Hyacinth, Parsley, Myrtle. The Romans added fillets or bandeaux of wool. The primitive Chris- 
tians reprobated these as impertinent practices ; but in Prudeniius's time they had adopted them, 
and they obtain in a degree in some parts of our own country, as the Garland hung up in some 
Village Churches in Cambridgeshire, and other Counties, after the Funeral of a young Woman ; 
and the inclosure of Roses round Graves in the Welch Church Yards, testify." 

a In " Malkin's Scenery, Antiquities, and Biography of South Wales," 4to. Lend. 1804. Gla- 
morganshire, p. 67. we read : " The Bed on which the Corpse lies is always strewed with Flowers, 
and the same custom is observed after it is laid in the Coffin. They bury much earlier than we 
do in England ; seldom later than the third day, and very frequently on the second. 

" The habit of filling the Bed, the Coffin, and the Room, with sweet-scented Flowers, though 
originating probably in delicacy as well as affection, must of course have a strong tendency to ex- 
pedite the progress of decay. It is an invariable practice, both by day and night, to watch a 
Corpse ; and so firm a hold has this supposed duty gained on their imaginations, that probably 
there is no instance upon record of a Family so unfeeling and abandoned as to leave a dead Body 
in the Room by itself, for a single minute, in the interval between the Death and Burial. Such a 
violation of decency would be remembered for generations. 

" The hospitality of the Country is not less remarkable on melancholy than on joyful occasions. 
The invitations to a Funeral are very general and extensive, and the refreshments are not light, 
and taken standing, but substantial and prolonged. Any deficiency in the supply of Ale would be 
as severely censured on this occasion as at a Festival. 

" The Grave of the deceased is constantly overspread with plucked Flowers for a Week or two 
after the Funeral. The planting of Graves with Flowers is confined to the Villages and the poorer 
people. It is perhaps a prettier custom. It is very common to dress the Graves on Whitsunday 
and other Festivals, when Flowers are to be procured : and the frequency of this observance is a 
good deal affected by the respect in which the deceased was held. My Father in law's Grave in 
Cowbridge Church has been strewed by his surviving Servants, every Sunday Morning, for these 
twenty years. It is usual for a Family not to appear at Church till what is called the Month's 
end, when they go in a body, and then are considered as having returned to the common offices 
of life." 

In the same Work, p. 606. in Notes on an Elegy written by the late Mr. Mason, we are told 
again that " It is a very antient and general practice in Glamorgan to plant Flowers on (he Graves ; 
so that many Church Yards have something like the spendour of a rich and various parterre. Be- 
sides this it is visual to strew the Graves with Flowers and Ever-greens, within the Church as well 


He adds the Custom, still used in the South of England, of fencing the Graves 

as out of it, thrice at least every year, on the same principle of delicate respect as the Stones are 

" No Flowers or Ever-greens are permitted to be planted on Graves but such as are sweet- 
scented : the Pink and Polyanthus, Sweet Williams, Gilliflowers, and Carnations, Mignionette, 
Thyme, Hyssop, Camomile, and Rosemary, make up the pious decoration of this consecrated 

" Turnsoles, Pionies, the African Marigold, the Anemony, and many others I could mention, 
though beautiful, are never planted on Graves, because they are not sweet-scented. It is to be 
observed, however, that this tender Custom is sometimes converted into an instrument of satire; 
so that where persons have been distinguished for their pride, vanity, or any other unpopular 
quality, the neighbours whom they may have offended plant these also by stealth upon their 

" The white Rose is always planted on a Virgin's Tomb. The red Rose is appropriated to the 
Grave of any person distinguished for goodness, and especially benevolence of character. 

" In the Easter week most generally the Graves are newly dressed, and manured with fresh 
earth, when such Flowers or Ever-greens as may be wanted or wished for are planted. In the 
Whitsuntide Holidays, or rather the preceding week, the Graves are again looked after, weeded, 
and otherwise dressed, or if necessary, planted again. It is a very common saying of such per- 
sons as employ themselves in thus planting and dressing the Graves of their Friends, that they are 
cultivating their own freeholds. This work the nearest Relations of the deceased always do with 
their own hands, and never by servants or hired persons. Should a neighbour assist, he or she 
never takes, never expects, and indeed is never insulted by the offer of any reward, by those who 
are acquainted with the ancient customs. 

"The vulgar and illiberal prejudice against old Maids and old Bachelors subsists among the 
Welsh in a very disgraceful degree, so that their Graves have not unfrcquently been planted by 
some satirical neighbours, not only with Rue, but with Thistles, Nettles, Henbane, and other 
noxious weeds. 

' " In addition to the foregoing remarks it may be observed of the Glamorganshire customs, that 
when a young Couple are to be married, their ways to the Church are strewed with sweet-scented 
Flowers and Ever-greens. When a young unmarried person dies, his or her ways to the Grave 
are also strewed with sweet Flowers and Ever-greens ; and on such occasions it is the usual 
phrase, that those persons are going to their nuptial Reds, not to their Graves. There seems to 
be a remarkable coincidence between these people and the antient Greeks, with respect to the 
avoiding of ill-omened words. None ever molest the Flowers that grow oh Graves ; for it is 
deemed a kind of sacrilege to do so. A Relation or Friend will occasionally take a Pink, if it can 
be spared, or a sprig of Thyme, from the Grave of a beloved or respected person, to wear it in 
remembrance; but they never take much, lest they should deface the growth on the Grave. Thii 


with Oziers, &c. and glances at clerical economy, for which there is oftentimes 

too much occasion, in the two last lines : 

" With wicker rods we fenc'd her Tomb around, 
To ward from Man and Beast the hallow'd ground : 

custom prevails principally in the most retired Villages ; and I have been assured, that in such 
Villages where the right of grazing the Church Yard has been enforced, the practice has alienated 
the affections of very great numbers from the Clergymen and their Churches ; so that many have 
become Dissenters for the singularly uncommon reason that they may bury their Friends in Dis- 
senting Burying-grounds, plant their Graves with Flowers, and keep them clean and neat, with- 
out any danger of their being cropt. This may have been the fact in some places ; but I confi- 
dently believe that few of the. Clergy would urge their privileges to an unfair or offensive extent. 

" These elegant and highly pathetic customs of South Wales make the best impressions on tin- 
mind. What can be more affecting than to see all the youth of both sexes in a Village, and in 
every Village through which the Corpse passes, dressed in their best apparel, arid strewing with 
sweet-scented Flowers the ways along which one of their beloved Neighbours goes to his or her 
Marriage-Bed ?" 

In the same Work, p. 213. speaking of the Church of Llanspyddid, on the South side of the 
Uske, surrounded with large and venerable Yew Trees, Mr. Malkin observes, " The natives of 
the Principality pride themselves much on these antient ornaments of their Church Yards; and it 
is nearly as general a custom in Brecknockshire, to decorate the Graves of the deceased with slips 
either of Bay or Yew, stuck in the green turf, for an emblem of pious remembrance, as it is in 
Glamorganshire to pay a tribute of similar import, iu the cultivation of sweet-scented Flowers ou 
the same spot." 

Mr. Gough, in the Introduction to the second Volume of his Sepulchral Monuments in Great 
Britain, p. cciv. says : " Aubrey takes notice of a custom of planting Rose Trees on the Graves of 
Lovers by the survivors, at Oakley, Surrey, which may be a remain of Roman manners among us; 
it being in practice among them and the Greeks to have Roses yearly strewed on their Graves, as 
Bishop Gibson, after Kirkman de Funeribus, p. 493. remarks from two inscriptions at Ravenna 
and Milan. The practice in Propertiiis of burying the dead (Eleg. i. 17.) in Roses is common 
among our country people; and to it Anacreon seems to allude, Ode liii. where he says, fooon 
vixpoij afavt't." 

Bishop Gibson is also cited as an authority for this practice by Mr. Strutt, in his Manners and 
Customs. Anglo-Saxon .'Era. vol. i. p. 69. [See also Mr. Bray's History of Surrey, vol. ii. p. 165. 
I do not find that the Custom is at present retained.] 

In the Female Mentor, 12mo. Lond. 1798. vol. ii. pp. 205. 206. we read: "Independently of 
the religious comfort which is imparted in our Burial Service, we sometimes see certain gratifica- 
tions which are derived from immaterial circumstances ; and however trivial they may appear, are 
not to be judged improper as long as they are perfectly innocent. Of this kind may be deemed the 


Lest her new Grave the Parson's Cattle raze, 

For both his Horse and Cow the Church Yard graze." 


practice in some Country Villages of throwing Flowers into the Grave ; and it is curious to trace 
this apparently simple custom up to the politest periods of Greece and Rome. Virgil, describing 
Anchises grieving for Marcellus, makes him say : 

Full Canisters of fragrant Lilies bring, 

Mix'd with the purple Roses of the Spring : 

Let me with fun'ral Flow'rs his Body strow, "J 

This Gift which Parents to their Children owe, S 

This unavailing Gift, at least 1 may bestow *. J 


The Graves of Glamorganshire, decorated with Flowers and Herbs, at once gratify the Relations 
of the departed and please the Observer." 
Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet says : 

" Dry up your tears, and stick your Rosemary f 
On this fair Corse." 

Of Paris, the intended husband of Juliet, who, to all appearance, died on her Wedding Day, it 
is said, in the language of Shakspeare, " He came with Flowers to strew his Ladie's Grave," when 
he provoked, and met his fate by the hand of, Romeo. 

Sir Thomas Overbury, in his Characters, describing the " faire and happy Milk-maid," says : 
" Thus lives she, and all her care is that she may die in the Spring time, to have store of Flowers 
itucke upon her Winding-sheet." 

* [" Manibus date lilia plenis : 
Purpureos spargam flores, aniraainque nepotis 
His saltern adcumulem donis, & fungar inani 
Munere." j.n. vi. I. 884.] 

f To what has been already said in a former page on the subject of Rosemary at Funerals may be added that 
in the British Apollo, fol. Loud. 1708. vol. i. No. 73. one asks: " Whence proceeds that so constant formality 
of persons bearing a sprig of Rosemary in their hand, when accompanying the obsequies of a deceas'd person ?" 
and is answered " A. That custom ('tis like) had its rise from a notion of an Alexipharmick, or preservative 
virtue in that Herb against pestilential Distempers : whence the smelling thereto at Funerals was probably 
thought a powerful defence against the morbid effluvias of the Corpse. Nor is it for the same reason less cus- 
tomary to burn Rosemary in the Chambers of the Sick, than Frankincense, whose odour is not much different 
from the former, which gave the Greeks occasion to call Rosemary AiSavur'is a AtSatas Thus." 

Ibid. No. 2. Quarterly Paper. To a Query why among the Antients Ewe and Cypress were given at Funerals, 
it is answered : " We suppose that as Ewe and Cypress are always green, the Antients made use of them a 
Burials, as an emblem of the immortality of the deceased through their vertues or good works." 




Minnyng Days, says Blount, from the Saxon Demynbe a , Days which 
our Ancestors called their Monthes Mind, their Years Mind, and the like, 
being the Days whereon their Souls, (after their deaths,) were had in spe- 
cial remembrance, and some Office or Obsequies said for them; as Obits, 
Dirges, &c. This word is still retained in Lancashire ; but elsewhere they are 
more commonly called Anniversary Days. The common expression of " having 
a Month's Mind," implying a longing desire, is evidently derived from hence b . 

A MS. entitled " Historical Passages concerning the Clergy," cited in the History of Shrewsbury, 
4to. p. 92. speaking of the antient papal times, observes : " It is probable before this time there 
were neither Seats nor Benches in Churches, the Floors were commonly strewed with Flowers and 
sweet Herbs, especially at midnight Masses and great Festivals, upon which the people must 
prostrate themselves." 

The following curious passage I found in "The Festyvall," 1528. fol. 77 b. in the account of 
St. Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. " He was also manfull in his houshold, for his 
Hall was every daye in Somer season strewed with grene Russhes, and in Wynter with clene Hey, 
for to save the Knyghtes clothes that sate on the Flore for defaute of place to syt on." 

Mr. Pennant, in his Tour in Scotland, remarks a singular Custom in many parts of North Bri- 
tain, of painting, on the Doors and Window-shutters, white tadpole-like figures, on a black 
ground, designed to express the Tears of the Country for the loss of any person of distinction. 
Nothing seems wanting to render this mode of expressing sorrow completely ridiculous, but the 
subjoining of a " N. B. These are Tears." I saw a door that led into a Family Vault in Kelso 
Church Yard in 1785> which was painted over in the above manner with very large ones." 

/. e. the Mind, q. Myndyng Days, Bede. Hist. Eccl. lib. iv. ca. SO. Commemorationis Dies. 

b The following is in Peck's Desiderata Curiosa, vol. i. p. 230. " By saying they have a Month's 
Mind to it, they antiently must undoubtedly mean, that, if they had what they so much longed 
for, it would, (hyperbolical ly speaking,) do them as much good (they thought) as they believed a 
Month's Mind, or Service said once a Month, (could they afford to have it,) would benefit their 
souls after their decease." 


We read in Fabyan's Chronicle that "In 1439 died Sir Roberde Chichely, 
Grocer, and twice Mayor of London, the which wylled in his Testament that 
upon his Mynde Day a good and competent Dyner should be ordayned to 

c The following is an extract from the Will of Thomas Windsor, Esq. 1479. 

" Item, I will that I have brennyng at my Burying and Funeral Service, four Tapers and 
twenty-two Torches of wax, every Taper to conteyn the weight of ten pounds, and every Torch 
sixteen pounds, which I will that twenty-four very poor Men, and well disposed, shall hold as 
well at the tynie of my burying as at my Moneth's Minde. Item, I will that after my Moneth's 
Minde be done, the said four Tapers be delivered to the Churchwardens, &c. And that there be 
a hundred Children within the age of sixteen years to be at my Moneth's Minde, to say for my 
soul. That against my Moneth's Minde, the Candles bren before the rude in the Parish Church. 
Also that at my Moneths Minde my Executors provide twenty Priests to singe Placebo, Dirige, &c." 
Sec Gent. Mag. for 1793. vol. Ixiii. p. 1191. 

[Fabyan the historian himself, also, in his Will, gives directions for his Month's Mind : "At 
whiche tyine of burying, and also the Monethis Mynde, I will that myne Executrice doo cause to 
be carried from London .xii. newe Torches, there beyng redy made, to burn in the tymes of the 
said burying and Monethes Minrle: and also that they do purvay for .iiii. Tapers of .iii. lb. evry 
pece, to brenne about the Corps and Herse for the foresaid ,ii. seasons, whiche Torches and 
Tapers to be bestowed as hereafter shalbe devised; whicli .iiij. Tapers I will be holden at every tyme 
by foure poore men, to the whiche I will that to everyche of theym be geven for their labours at 
either of the saide .ij. tymes .iiij.d. to asmany as been weddid men : and if any of theym happen to 
be unmarried, than they to have but .iij.d. a pece, and in lyke maner I will that the Torche berers 
be orderid." In another part of his Will he says : " Also I will, that if I decesse at my tenemente 
of Halstedis, that myn Executrice doo purvay aycnst my burying competent brede, ale, and chese, 
for all comers to the parishe Churche, and ayenst the Moneths Mynde I will be ordeyned, at the 
said Churche, competent brede, ale, pieces of beffe and moton, and rost rybbys of beffe, and shalbe 
thought nedefull by the discrecion of myn Executrice, for all coiners to the said obsequy, over and 
above brede, ale, and chese, for the comers unto the dirige over night. And furthermore I will 
that my said Executrice doo purvay ayenst the said Moneths Mynde .xxiiij. peces of beffe and moton, 
and .xxiiij. treen platers and .xxiiij. treen sponys ; the whiche pcces of fieshe with the said platers 
and spoouys, w'. .xxiiij. d. of siluer, I will be geven unto .xxiiij. poore persones of the said parisshe 
of Theydon Garnon, if w'in that parishe so many may be founde : for lake whereof, I will the .xxiiij. 
peces of flesh and .ij.s. in money, w' the foresaid platers and sponys be geven Unto suche poore 
persones as may be found in the parisshes of Theydon at Mount, and Theydou Boys, after the dis- 
crecion of myn Executors ; and if my said Monethes Mynde fall in Lent, or upon a fysshe day, 
than I will that the said .xxiiij. peces of fieshe be altered unto saltfyche or stokfyshe, unwatered, 
and unsodeyn, and that every piece of beef or moton, saltfyshe or stokfysh, be well in value of a 
pcny or a peny at the leest ; and that noo dyner be purveyed for at horn but for my household and 


xxiiii C. pore Men, and that of housholders of the Citee, yf they myght be 
founde. And over that was xx pounde destributed among them, which was to 
every Man two pence." 

kynnysfolks : and I will that my Knyll be rongyn at my Monethes Mynde after the guyse of Lon- 
don. Also I will that myn Executrice doo assemble upon the said day of Moneths Mynde .xij. of 
the porest menys childern of the foresaid parisshe, and after the Masse is ended and other ob- 
seruances, the said Childern to be ordered about my Grave, and there knelyng, to say for my 
soule and all Cristen soules, ' De profundis,' as many of them as can, and the residue to say a 
Pater noster, and an Ave oonly ; to the which .xij. childern I will be geven .xiij.d. that is to 
meane, to that childe that beginneth ' De profundis' and saith the preces, ij.d. and to eueryche 
of the other j.rf." See Fabyan's Chron. new edit. Pref. pp. iv. vi.] 

" I shulde speake nothing, in the mean season, of the costly feastes and bankettes that are 
commonly made unto the priestes (whiche come to suche doinges from all partes, as Ravens do to 
a deade Carkase,) in their buryinges, moneths mindes and yeares myndes." 

Veron's Huntyng of Purgatory, 8vo. Lond. 15G1. fol. 36. 

In the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Mary Hill, in the City of London, Anno 1 7 & ] 9 Edw. IV. 
(Palmer and Clerk,) are the following articles : 

" Pd to Sir I. Philips for keepyng the Morrow Mass at 6 o'clock upon feryall days, each 
quarter \.s." 

" To the Par. Priest to remember in the pulpit the soul of R. Bliet, who gave vj.s. viij.rf. to 
the Church works, ij.rf." 

In Mr. Nichols's Collection of Churchwardens' Accounts, 4to. Lond. 1797. Accounts of St. Mar- 
garet, Westminster, p. 10. we read : 

" Item, at the Monyth Mynde of Lady Elizabeth Countess of Oxford, for four Tapers, viijd." 
Under the year 1531. is, 

" Item, for mette for the theff that stalle the Pyx. iiijd." 
And, in 1532. 

" Item, received for iiii Torches of the black Guard, viijrf." 

On these occasions the word " Mind" signified Remembrance : and the expression a " Month's 
Mind," a " Year's. Mind, ' &c. meant that on that Day, Month, or Year after the party's decease, 
some solemn Service for the good of his soul should be celebrated. 

In Ireland, " after the day of interment of a great personage, they count four weeks; and that 
day four weeks, all Priests and Friars, and all Gentry, far and near, are invited to a great Feast, 
(usually termed the Month's Mind) ; the preparation to this Feast are Masses, said in ali parts of 
the House at once, for the Soul of the departed ; if the Room be large, you shall have three 
er four Priests together celebrating in the several corners thereof; the Masses done, they 
proceed to their Feastings ; and after all, every Priest and Friar is discharged with his largess." 
Sir Henry Piers' Description of West Meath, 1682. in Vallancey's Collectanea 

de Rebus Hibernicis. vol. i. p. 126. 



on entering the Chitrch. 

THIS Custom, which was prevalent when Bourne wrote*, he deduces from 
the antient practice of the Church of worshipping towards the East 6 . This, 
says he, they did, that by so worshipping they might lift up their minds to God, 
who is called the Light, and the Creator of Light, therefore turning, says St. 
Austin , our Faces to the East, from whence the day springs, that we might be 
reminded of turning to a more excellent nature, namely the Lord. As also, 
that as Man was driven out of Paradise, which is towards the East, he ought 
to look that way, which is an Emblem of his desire to return thither d . Again it 

a Antiq. Vulgares, chap. v. 

b The following is from Langley's Abridgement of P< lidore Vergil, fol. 109 b. " The maner 
of turnyng our faces into the Easte when wee praie, is taken of the old Ethnikes, whiche as Apu- 
leius remembreth, used to loke Eastwarde and salute the Sonne : we take it in a Custom to put us 
in remembraunce that Christe is the sonne oE Righteousnes, that discloseth all Secretes." 

c DC Sermone Domini in Mont. Lib. ii. cap. 5. 

d St. Damascen (Lib. iv. c. 14. Orthod. Fid.) therefore tells us that because the Scripture says 
that God planted Paradise in Eden towards the East, where he placed the Man which he had 
formed, whom he punished with banishment upon his Transgression, and made him dwell over 
against Paradise in the western part, we therefore pray (says he) being in quest of our antient 
Country, and, as it were, panting after it, do worship God that way." 

Dr. Comber says, " some antient authors tell us that the old Inhabitants of Attica buried thus 
before the Days of Solon, who, as they report, convinced the Athenians that the Island of Salamis 
did of right belong to them by shewing them dead bodies looking that way, and Sepulchres turned 
towards the East, as they used to bury." Diog. Laert. Vit. Solon. &c. And the Scholiast upon 
Thucydides says, it was the manner of all the Greeks to bury their dead thus. 


was used when they were baptized : they first turned their faces to the West, 
and so renounced the Devil, and then to the East, and made their Covenant 
with Christ. Lastly, those of the antient Church prayed that way, believing 
that our Saviour would come to Judgment from that Quarter of the Heavens, 
St. Damascen asserting that when he ascended into Heaven, he was taken up 
Eastward, and that his Disciples worshipped him that way; and therefore chiefly 
it was, that in the antient Church they prayed with their Faces to the East. 

Hence it is that at this Day many persons turn their Faces to that Quarter of 
the World at the repetition of the Creed. 

But what speaks it to have been the universal Opinion of the Church, is the 
antient Custom of burying Corpses with the Feet to the East and Head to the 
West, continued to this Day by the Church of England". 

Our learned Countryman Gregory tells us, that the Holy Men of Jerusalem 
held a Tradition generally received from the Antients that our Saviour himself 
was buried with his face and feet towards the East f . ^ 

Sec p. 199. 

f " Bede (in Die Sanct. Paschae, torn, vii.) says, that as the holy Women entered at the Eastern 
part into the circular House hewn out in the Rock, they saw the Angel sitting at the South part 
of the place, where the body of Jesus had lain, i.e. at his right hand : for undoubtedly his Body, 
having its face upwards and the head to the West, must have its right hand to the South." Bourne, 
chap. v. 

I find the following in a curious old Tract in the great Collection of Robert and Richard Gray, 
Esqrs. Dutchy of Cornwall office, Somerset Place, entitled, " A Light shining out of Darknes, or 
Occasional Queries," &c. 4to. Lond. 1659. p. 26. " This reason likewise the Common people give 
for their being buryed with their feet toward the East, so that they may be in a fitter posture to 
meet the Sun of Righteousness when he shall appear with healing in his wings, viz. at the Resur- 
rection." The subsequent Remark is found at p. 30. " Whether it be not a pretty foundation 
for the Oxford-Doctors to stand booted and spurred in the ACT ? because there is mention made in 
the Scripture of being shod with the preparation of the Gospel ?" 

[" Tis in the main allowed," says Selden, " that the Heathens did, in general, look towards the 
East, when they prayed, even from the earliest Ages of the World." On this important subject 
the curious Reader is referred to " Alkibla ; a Disquisition upon worshipping towards the East : by 
a Master of Arts of the University of Oxford." Svo. Lond. 1728. " A Second Part," continuing the 
Work from the primitive to the present times, appeared in 1731 : and a second Edition of the 
whole in 174O. The Author, who signs his name to the second Part, was Mr. William Aspliu.] 


In this enlightened Age it is almost superfluous to observe that Bowing to- 
wards the Altar is a vestige of the antient Ceremonial Law. 

One who has left a severe Satire on the Retainers of those Forms and Cere- 
monies that lean towards popish Superstition, tells us^; " If I were a Papist or 
Authropo-morphite, who believes that God is enthroned in the East like a grave 
old King, I profess I would bow and cringe as well as any limber-ham of them 
all, and pay my adoration to that point of the Compass (the East) : but if men 
believe that the Holy One who inhabits Eternity, is also omnipresent, why do 
not they make correspondent Ceremonies of adoration to every point of the 
Compass r" 

Concession must be made by every Advocate for manly and rational Wor- 
ship, that there is nothing more in the East h , than in the Belfry at the West end, 
or in the Body of the Church. We wonder therefore how ever this Custom was 
retained by Protestants'. The Cringes and Bowings of the Roman Catholics to 


Hickeringill's Ceremony Monger, p. 15. 

h " Aulam Regiam, id cst, Ecclesiam ingredientes ad Altare inclinamus, quod quasi Regem mi- 
lites adoramus : eterni enim Regis milites sunius. Durandi Rationale, p. 226. 

The learned Mr. Mede tells us, that what reverential Guise, Ceremony, or Worship they used at 
their Ingress into Churches, in the Ages next to the Apostles (and some he believes they did) is 
wholly buried in silence and oblivion. The Jews used to bow themselves towards (he Mercy-Seat. 
The Christians, after them, in the Greek and Oriental Churches, have, time out of mind, and with- 
out any known beginning, used to bow in like manner. They do it at this day. See Bingham's 

' At the end of Smart's curious Sermon preached in the Cathedral Church of Durham, July 27, 
1628. among the Charges brought against Bishop Cosens are the following: 

"Fifthly, He hath brought in a new Custome of bowing the Body downe to the ground before 
the Altar (on which he hath set Candlesticks, Basons, and Crosses, Crucifixes, and Tapers which 
stand there for a dumbe shew) : hee hath taught and enjoyned all such as come neere the Altar to 
cringe and bow unto it : he hath commanded the Choresters to make low leggs unto it, when 
they goe to light the Tapers that are on it in the Winter nights ; and in their returne^from it, hee 
hath enjoined them to make low leggs unto it againe, going backewards with their faces towards 
the East, till they are out of the Inclosure where they [usually] stand. 

" Sixthly. Hee enjoynes all them that come to the. Cathedral! Church to pray with their Faces to- 
wards the East, scoulding and brawling with them, even in time of divine Service, which refuse to 


the Altar is in adoration of the corporal presence, their wafer God k , whom their 
fancies have seated and enthroned in this Quarter of the East. 

doe it, and bidding them either to pray towards the East, or to be packing out of the Church, so 
devoted is heeto this Easterne Superstition." 

In Articles to be enquired of within the Diocese of Lincoln, A. D. 1641. 4to. Lond. 1641. the 
following occurs : " Do you know of any Parson, Vicar, or Curate that hath introduced any offen- 
sive Rites or Ceremonies into the Church, not established by the Lawes of the Land ; as namely, 
that make three Courtesies towards the Communion Table, that call the said Table an Altar, that 
enjoyne the people at their comming into the Church to bow towards the East, or towards the 
Communion-Table ?" 

In " Altar-Worship, or Bowing to the Communion Table considered : by Z. Crofton, presbyter 
but proved Enemy to all Fanaticks," 12mo. Lond. 1661. p. 60. we are informed that " The late 
ARCHBISHOP LAUD was the first that ever framed a Canon for bowing to, towards, or before the Com- 
munion Table." This shrewd Writer adds : " For which, Reason will require some Symbol of di- 
vine Nature and Presence. Its being an holy Instrument of divine Service, being of no more force 
for the Altar, than for the Tongs, or Snuffers of the Tabernacle, or Aaron's Breeches under the 
Law, or for Surplices, Organs, Chalices, Patens, and Canonical Coates and Girdles, which are made 
Instruments of Holy Service, by our Altar-Adorers ; and if on that reason they must be bowed 
unto, we shall abound in cringing not only in every Church, but in every Street." p. 116. " On 
Maundy Thursday, 1636. Mrs. Charnock, &c. went to see the King's Chapel, where they saw an 
Altar, with Tapers and other Furniture on it, and a Crucifix over it : and presently came Dr. 
Brown one of his Majesties Chaplaincs, and his Curate, into the Chappel, and turning themselves 
towards the Altar, bowed three times ; and then performing some private devotion departed : and 
immediately came two seminarie Priests and did as the Doctor and his Curate had done before 

A regard for impartiality obliges me to own that I have observed this practice in College Chapels 
at Oxford. I hope it is altogether worn out in every other place in the kingdom : and, for the 
credit of that truly respectable Seminary of Learning and religious Truth, that it will not be re* 
tained there by the rising generation. 

[The practice of bowing to the Altar, the Editor believes, is now entirely left off at Oxford. That 
of turning to It at the repetition of the Creed is pretty generally retained : and certainly has its 
use, in contributing very often to recall the wandering thoughts of those who attend the Chapel 

In Browne's " Map of the Microcosme," &c. 12mo. Lond. 1642. Signal. H. 2. speaking of a proud 
Woman, he says : " Shee likes standing at the Creed, not because the Church commands it, but be- 
cause her gay Cloathes are more spectable." And in " The Times anatomized, in severall Charac- 
ters," by T. F. 12mo. Lond. 1647. Signat. C. 4 b. is the following : " Like that notorious Pick-pocket, 
that whilst (according to the Custonie) every one held up their hands at rehearsing the Creed, he by 


The learned Moresin tells us, that Altars in Papal Rome were placed towards 
the East, in imitation of antient and heathen Rome. Thus we read in Virgil's 
Eleventh JEneid : 

"111! ad surgentem conversi lumina Solera 
Dant fruges manibus salsas 1 ." 

a device had a false Hand, which he held up like the rest, whilst his true one was false iu other 
men's pockets." 

I find the following passage in "The New Help to Discourse," &c. 3d edit. 12mo. Lend. 1684, 
p. 36. " It is a Custom in Poland, that when in the Churches the Gospel is reading, the Nobility 
and Gentry of that Countiy draw out their Swords, to signify that they are ready to defend the 
same, if any dare oppugn it. The same Reason questionless gave beginning to our Custom of 
standing up at the Creed, whereby we express how prepared and resolute we are to maintain it, al- 
though in the late times of Rebellion, some tender Consciences, holding it to be a Relique of 
Popery, being more nice than wise, did undiscreetly refuse the same." 

k I find in a curious Collection of Godly Ballads in the Scottish Language, Edinburgh, 1C21. the 
following passage, which has been intended, no doubt, as an argument against Transubstantiation : 
" Gif God be transubstantiall 

In Bread with hoc est Corpus meum ; 
Why are ye so unnatural), 

To take him in your teeth and sla him, &c." 

The Rev. Joseph Warton in his " Dying Indian," puts into his Hero's Charge a similar Thought : 
" Tell her I ne'er have worship'd 
With those that eat their God." 

Dodsley's Collection, vol. iv. 

In Heath's " Two Centuries of Epigrammes," Svo. Lond. 1610. I find the following, ^Cent. ii. 
Kpigr. 78. 

" In Transubstantiatores. 
The Cannibals eate Men with greedinesse ; 
And Transubstantiators do no lesse : 
No lesse ? Nay more ; and that farre more by ods ; 
Those eat Man's flesh, these ravine upon God's." 

Thus hath Superstition made the most awful Mysteries of our Faith the subjects of Ridicule. 

1 Moresini Papatus, p. 117- He goes on: " Orientem in solem convertitur, ut jam dixi, qui 
deos salutat aut oral apud nos, & Apul. ait, 2. Metam. Tune in orientem obversus vel incrementa 
Solis August! tacitus imprecatus, &c. Polyd. lib. 5. cap. 9. Invent. Orientem respicit precaturus, 
& imagines oriens spectant, ut ingredientes preces eo versum ferant ad ritum Persarum, qiii 


In a curious Work, now before me, entitled, " England's faithful Reprover 
and Monitour," 12mo. Lond. 1653, the unknown Author, in his Address " to the 
Church of England," reprobates a Custom then prevalent for the audience to 
sit in Churches with their Hats on. pag. 48. " Thine own Children even 
glory in their Shame, when not as Masters, but as Scholars, not as Teachers, 
but as Disciples, they sit covered at their most solemn holy Meetings, without 
difference of place, degree, age, season, or of any personal relation whatsoever." 
" Although we have known some, and those not a few, who have presumed te 
sit covered in the presence of God at such a time as this; but when a great per- 
son hath come into the Assembly, have honoured him with the uncovering of' 
the head, as though civill respect towards a mortall prince were to be expressed 
by more evident signs of submission from the outward man than religious worship 
towards the immortal God." He tells us, however, that they were uncovered 
when they sang the Psalms." p. />0 ra . " When the Minister prayeth or praiseth 
God in the Words of the Psalmist, as he frequently doth ; at which time every 
one almost is vailed, who, notwithstanding, presently condemn themselves in this 
very thing which they allow, forasmuch as they all uncover the head when the 
same Psalmes are sung by them, only changed into Meeter, and that perchance 
for the worse." Our author concludes this head with observing, properly enough, 
that "we cannot imagine lesse, than that this covering of the head in the Congre- 
gation, where Infirmity or Sickness doth not plead for it, tendeth to the disho- 

Solem orientem venerati sunt. Plut. in Numa. Deus interdicit Judaels oriente, prohibet imagines. 
Exod. 20. Levit. 26. Deut. 5. Esa. 40. Coel. autem lib. vii. cap. 2. ant. lect. dicit, jam illud veteris 
fuit superstitionis, quod in Asclcpio Mercurius scribit, deum adorantes, si medius affulserit dies in 
austrum convert! : si vero dies sit occiduus, in occasum : si se tune primum promat Sol, exortiva 
est spectanda. Vigilius Papa, anno Christ! 554. jussit sacrificulum sacrificantem Missam ad ortum 
Soils oculos dirigete. Insuper qui precabantur ad orientem conversi, erecto vultu, manibus passis, 
expansis et in cesium sublatis ac protensis orabant. Virg. 8. Mneid. Ovid. lib. 4. fast. Vitruvhis. 
Jib. 4. cap. 5. Tertul. in Apol. Apul. lib. 2. Metam. Clemens, lib. 7. Stromatdn. eodemque converse 
templa fuisse Plutarch, in Numa docet. Juvenal. Satyr. 10. Apul. lib. de Mundo. Virg. lib. 2. & 3. 
jEneid. haec omnia retinet Papatus. vide Justinum. lib. 18. & lege dist. 11. can. Ecclesiasticum. htec 
instituta Sixto. 11. adscribunt. Szeg. in Spec." 

m So, iu " A Character of England as it was lately presented in a Letter to a Nobleman of 
France," 12mo. Lond. 1659. p. 13. " I have beheld a whole Congregation sitting on their * * * * 
with i/icir huts en, at the reading of the Psalms, and yet bare-headed when they ting them." 


nour of Jesus Christ, whose Servants we profess ourselves to be, especially at 
this Time, and to the contempt of his Messenger representing the Office and Per- 
son of Christ before our Eyes n ." 

White, in his History of Selborne, p. 323. says, in speaking of the Church : 
" I have all along talked of the East and West end, as if the Chancel stood 
exactly true to those points of the Compass ; but this is by no means the case, 
for the fabrick bears so much to the North of the East, that the four corners of 
the Tower, and not the four sides, stand to the four Cardinal points . The best 

The Custom of Rustics in marking the outlines of their Shoes on the Tops of their (Church 
Steeples, and engraving their Names in the areas has been by Mr. Smart in his Poem on " The 
Hop-Garden" very sensibly referred to Motives of Vanity : Book ii. 1. 165. 
" To err is human, human to be vain. 
'Tis Vanity, and mock Desire of Fame, 
That prompts the Rustic on the steeple-top 
Sublime, to mark the outlines of his Shoe, 
And, in the Area to engrave his name." 

As is the following, in the subsequent lines, to the Pride of office : 
" With pride of Heart the Churchwarden surveys 
High o'er the Belfry, girt with Birds and Flow'rs, 
His story wrote in capitals : ' 'Tvvas I 
That bought the Font ; and I repair'd the Pews'." 

See this subject before noticed, vol. i. p. 427- The witty author of the History of Birmingham, 
p. 113. speaking of St. Bartholomew's Chapel there, observes: "The Chancel hath this singular 
difference from others, that it veres toward the North. Whether the Projector committed an 
error 1 leave to the Critics. 

" It was the general practice of the pagan Church to fix their Altar, upon which they sacrificed, 
in the East, towards the rising Sun, the object of worship. The Christian Church, in the time 
of the Romans, immediately succeeded the Pagan, and scrupulously adopted the same method ; 
which has been strictly adhered to. 

"By what obligation the Christian is bound to follow the Pagan, or wherein a Church would be 
injured by being directed to any of the thirty-two points of the Compass, is doubtful. Certain it 
is, if the Chancel of Bartholomew's had tended due East, the eye would have been exceedingly 
hurt, and the builder would have raised an object of ridicule for ages. The Ground will admit of 


method of accounting for this deviation, seems to be, that the workmen, who pro- 
bably were employed in the longest Days, endeavoured to set the Chancels to 
the rising of the Sun." 



THE word Pledge is most probably derived from the French " Pleige," a 
Surety, or Gage a . Some deduce the expression " I'll pledge you" in drinking, 
from the times when the Danes bore sway in this Land. It is said to have been 
common with these ferocious people to stab a Native in the act of drinking, with 
a Knife or Dagger : hereupon people would not drink in company, unless some 
one present would be their pledge or surety, that they should receive no hurt 
whilst they were in their Draught b . 

no situation but that in which 'the Church now stands. But the inconsiderate Architect of Deri- 
tend Chapel, anxious to catch the Eastern point, lost the line of the Street : we may therefore justly 
pronounce, he sacrificed to the East." 

Deritend Chapel is another place of public Worship in the same Town. 

a Blount. 

b In Shakspeare's Timon of Athens, Act. i. sc. 5. is the following passage : 

"If I 

Were a huge man, I should fear to drink at meals, 
Lest they should spy my Wind pipe's dangerous Notes j 
Great Men should drink with Harness on their throats .-" 

" alluding to the Pkdge in the time of the Danes. It was then customary, when a person promised 
to be Pledge or Security for the rest of the Company, that they should receive no harm whilst they 
were drinking : a Custom occasioned by the practice of the Danes heretofore, who frequently used 
to stab, or cut the throats of the English, while they were drinking. In Wyat's Rebellion, 1st 
of Queen Mary, the Serjeants and other Lawyers in Westminster Hall pleaded in harness. See 
Baker's Chronicle, edit. 1670. p. 316." Grey's Notes on Shakspear, vol. ii. p. 120. 

224 PLEDGIN6. 

Others affirm the true sense of the word to be this : that if the person drank 
unto was not disposed to drink himself, he would put another to be a pledge to 
do it for him., otherwise the party who began would take it ill. 

Mr. Strutt confirms the former of these opinions in the following words : " The 
old manner of pledging each other when they drank, was thus : the person who 
was going to drink, asked any one of the Company who sat next him, whether 
he would pledge him, on which he answering that he would, held up his Knife 

Dr. Henry, in his History of Great Britain, 4to. edit. vol. ii. p. 539. speaking on this subject, 
says : " If an Englishman presumed to drink in the presence of a Dane, without his express per- 
mission, it was esteemed so great a mark of disrespect, that nothing but his instant Death could 
expiate. Nay, the English were so intimidated that they would not adventure to drink even when 
they were invited, until the Danes had pledged their honour for their safety ; which introduced 
the Custom of pledging each other in drinking, of which some vestiges are still remaining among 
the common people in the North of England, where the Danes were most predominant." He cites 
" Pontopidon, Gesta & Vestigia Danorum," torn. ii. p. 2O9. 

" Such great drinkers," says Strutt, " were the Danes, (who were in England in the time of 
Edgar,) and so much did their bad examples prevail with the English, that He, by the advice of 
Dunstan, archbishop of Canterbury, put down many Ale-houses, suffering only one to be in a 
Village, or small Town : and he also further ordained that Pins or Nails should be fastened into 
the drinking Cups and Horns, at stated distances, and whosoever should drink beyond these marks 
at one Draught, should be obnoxious to a severe punishment." This was to prevent the pernicious 
custom of Drinking. 

Mr. Strutt, who has cited William of Malmsbury for this Custom, is not quite correct in his 
Translation of the passage, xvhich is as follows : " In tantum et in frivolis pacis sequax, ut quia 
Compatriotae, in Tabcrnis convenientes, jamque temulenti pro modo bibendi contendercnt, ipse 
clavos argenteos vel aureos vasis affigi jusserit, ut dum mctam suam quisque cognoscent, non plus 
subserviente verecundia vel ipse appeteret, vel alium appetere cogeret." Scriptores post Bedam, 
p. 56. Which Law seems to have given occasion to a Custom which was afterwards called Pin- 
tlrinking, or nick the Pin, and which is thus explained in Cocker's Dictionary : " An old way of 
drinking exactly to a pin in the midst of a wooden cup, which being somewhat difficult, occa- 
sioned much drunkenness : so a law was made that Priests, Monks, and Friars, should not drink 
to or at the Pins." It is certainly difficult to say what Law this was, unless it has been con- 
founded with that of King Edgar. 1 find the Custom differently alluded to in another English 
Dictionary called " Gazophylacium Anglicanum," 12mo. Lond. 1689. where the expression " He 
is on a merry Pin," is said to have arisen " from a way of drinking in a Cup in which a pin was 
stuck, and he" that could drink to the Pin, t. e. neither under nor over it, was to have the Wager." 

Mr. Douce conceives the expression to drink " Supernaculum," means to drink to the Nail, as 


or Sword, to guard him whilst he drank c ; for while a man is drinking he neces- 
sarily is in an unguarded posture, exposed to the treacherous stroke of some hid- 
den or secret enemy. 

above explained. Nagel in German means a Nail or Pin. He adds, " See the Article Ad pinnas 
bibere in Cowel's Law Dictionary: and Grose's Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, t>. PIN." " Ut 
Presbyteri non eant ad Potationes, nee ad Pinnas bibant." Concil. Londinens. A. D. 1 102. apud 
Spelman. vol. ii. p. 24. Johnson very properly translates this " that Priests go not to drinking bouts, 
nor drink to Pegs." Compare also Gent. Mag. for October 1768. vol. Ixviii. p. 475. 

In Wise's Further Observations upon the White Horse, and other Antiquities, &c. 4to. Oxford, 
1742. p. 54. we read: " The Custom of pledging Healths, still preserved among Englishmen, is 
said to be owing to the Saxon's mutual regard for each others safety, and as a caution against the 
treacherous Inhospitality of the Danes, when they came to live in peace with the Natives." 

c The Hon. Daines Barrington in " Observations on the Antient Statutes," 4to. Lond. 1775. p. 206'. 
says that it was antiently the Custom for a person swearing fealty " to hold his hands joined together, 
between those of his lord ; the reason for which seems to have been that some Lord had been assassi- 
nated under pretence of paying homage ; but, while the Tenant's hands continued in this attitude, it 
was impossible for him to make such an attempt. I take the same reason to have occasioned the 
Ceremony still adhered to by the Scholars in Queen's College at Oxford, who wait upon the Fel- 
lows placing their Thumbs upon the Table ; which, as I have been informed, still continues in 
some parts of Germany, whilst the superior drinks the health of the inferior. The suspicion that 
Men formerly had of attempts upon their Lives on such occasions is well known, from the common 
account with regard to the origin of pledging." He says, ibid. "The Speculum Regale advises 
the Courtier, when he is in the King's presence., to pull off his Cloak ; and one of the reasons 
given is, that he shews by this means that he hatli no concealed weapons to make an attempt upon 
the King's Life." p. 299-300. 

In " Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to the Divell," by Thomas Nash, gent. 4to. Lond. 1595. 
Sign. F. we read : " You do ine the disgrace, if you cloo not pledge me as much as 1 drink.; to you." 

In the " Workes of John Heiwood newlie imprinted," 4to. Lond. Ifj98. Signal. F. 4. is the fol- 
lowing line : 

" I drinke (Quoth she,) Quoth he, / will not pledge." 

Plat, in his Jewel- House of Art and Nature, p. 59. gives a Recipe to prevent Drunkenness, "for 
the help of such modest Drinkers, as only in Company are drawn, or rather forced to pledge in full 
Bolls such quaffing Companions as they would be loth to offend, and will require reason at their 
hands as they term it. 

Sir Thomas Overbuiy, in his Characters, speaking of a Serving-Man, says : " He never drinks 
but double, for he must be pledged ; nor commonly without some short Sentence nothing to the 
purpose : and seldom abstains till he comes to a thirst." 

In Young's " England's Bane," 4to. Lond. 1617- Signal. E. is the following passage: "Trudy- 


But the Custom is here said to have first taken its rise from the death of young 
king Edward, called the Martyr, son to Edgar, who was by the contrivance of 
Elfrida, his step-mother, treacherously stabbed in the back as he was drinking. 

I thinke hereupon comes the name of good fellow, quasi goad fellow, because he forceth and goads 
his fellowes forward to be drunke with his persuasive Termes as I dranke to you pray pledge me, 
you dishonour me, you disgrace mee, and with such like words, doth urge his Consorts forward 
to be drunke, as Oxen being prickt with Goads, are com pel' d and forced to draw the waine." 

Barnaby Rich, in his Work entitled, " The Irish Hubbub, or the English Hue and Crie," 4to. 
Lend. 1G19. p. 24. describing the mode of drinking Healths in his Time, tells us : "He that be- 
ginneth the Health, hath his prescribed Orders ; first uncovering his head, hee takes a full Cup in 
his hand, and selling his Countenance with a grave aspect, hee craves for audience -. Silence being 
once obtained, hee beginnes to breath out the name, peradventure of some honourable personage, 
that is worthy of a better regard, than to have his name polluted amongst a Company of Drun- 
kards: but his health is drunke to, and hee that pledgeth must likewise off' with his Cap, kisse his 
Fingers, and bowing himselfe in signe of a reverent acceptance. When the Leader sees his fol- 
lower thus prepared : he soups up his broath, turnes the bottom of the Cup upward, and in Osten- 
tation of his Dexteritie, gives the Cup a phillip, to make it cry Twango. And thus the first Scene 
is acted. 

The Cup being newly replenished to the breadth of an haire, he that is the pledger, must now 
beginne his part, and thus it goes round throughout the whole Company, provided alwaies by a 
Cannon set downe by the Founder, there must be three at the least still uncovered, till the Health 
hath had the full passage : which is no sooner ended, but another begins againe." 

In the second Part of Dekker's Honest Whore, 4to. Lond. 1(>30. Signal. I b. is the following: 
" Will you fall on yoiir Maribones and pledge tltis Health, 'tis to my Mistris ?" 

So in Shakerly Mermion's Antiquary : Act ii. 

" Drank lo your Hcallh, whole Nights in Hippocrase, 
Upon my Knees, with more Religion 
Than e're I said my prayers, which Heaven forgive me." 

Pledging is again mentioned Act iv. " To our noble Duke's Health, I can drink no lesse, not a drop 
lesse ; and you his Servants will pledge me, I am sure." 

In Heywood's " Philocolhonisla," 4to. Lond. 1S35. p. 12. we read : " Divers authors report of 
Alexander, that, carousing one day with Iwenly persons in his Company, hee dranke healths to 
every man round, and pledged them severally againe : and as he was to rise, Calisthenes, the So- 
phist, coming into the Banquetling House, the king offered him a decpe quaffing-bovvle, which he 
modestly refused, for which, being taxed by one there present, hee said aloud, I desire not, Oh 
Alexander, to receive a pledge from tbee, by taking which I shall be presently inforced to inquire 
for a Pbysitiop." 


Mr. Strutt's authority here is William of Malmesbury, and he observes from 
the delineation he gives us (and it must be noted that his Plates, being Copies of 

There is a remarkable passage in Ward's " Living Speeches of dying Christians," (Sermons, Svo- 
1 .onil. 1636. p. 144.) " My Saviour began to mee in a bitter Cup, and shall I not pledge him ;" i. e. 
drink the same. From the speech of Lawrence Saunders. 

In "A brief Character of the Low Countries under the States," 12mo. Lond. 165y. p. 57. speak- 
ing of a Dutch Feast, the author tells us : " At those times it goes hard with a Stranger, all in 
curtesie will be drinking to him, and all that do so he must pledge: till he doth, the fill'd Cups circle 
round his Trencher, from whence they are not taken away till emptyed." 

I know not what the following passage means in Samuel Rowland's " Satyres ; Humour's Onli- 
narie." 4to. F. 2. 

" Tom is no more like thee then Chalk's like Cheese 
To pledge a health, or to drink up-se frieze .- 
Fill him a beaker, he will never flinch, &c." 

The term Upsie-Freeze occurs again in Dckkar's " Dead Term or Westminster's Speech to Lon- 
don, &c." 4to. 1607. Signat. A 4. " Fellowes there are that followe mee, who in deepe Bowles shall 
drowne the Dutchman, and make him lie under the Table. At his owne Weapon of Upsie Freeze 
will they dare him, and beat him with Wine-pots till he be dead drunke." 

So, in Massinger's Virgin Martyr, Act ii. sc. 1. Spungius calls Bacchus " The God of brewed 
Wine and Sugar, great Patron of Rob-pots, Upsy freest/ Tipplers, and Supernaculum-takers." 

In "Times Curtaine drawne, or theAnatomie of Vanitie, &c. by Richard Brathwayte, Oxonian," 
Svo. Lond. 1621. in "Ebrius experiens, or the Drunkard's Humour," Signat. M 3. is the sub. 
sequent passage : 

" To it we went, we two being all were left, 
(For all the rest of sense were quite bereft) 
Where either call'd for wine that best did please, 
Thus helter-skelter drunke we Upsefrese. 
I was conjured by my kissing friend 
To pledge him but an Health, and then depart. 
Which if I did, Is'de ever have his heart. 
I gave assent ; the Health, fee Senses were, 
(Though scarce one Sense did 'twixt us both appeare) 
Which as he drunk I pledg'd ; both pledg'd and drunk, 
Seeing him now full charg'd, behinde I shrunke, &c." 

In a curious satyrical little Book in my possession, which was bought at the Duke of Bridge- 
water's Sale in 1800, (the Title page of which is unfortunately torn out,) dedicated to George Dod- 
dington, esq. and written as I guess from internal evidence about the time of Charles II. I find 
the following. Introd . p. 9. 


antient illuminated Manuscripts, are of unquestionable authority,) that it seems 

" Awake ! Thou noblest Drunkard, Bacchus, thou must likewise stand to me, (if, at least, thou 
canst for reeling,) teach me how to take the German's OP SUN FKIZE, the Danish Rowsa, the 
Switzer's Stoop of Rhenish, the Italian Parmasant, the Englishman's Healths and Fnlicks. Hide 
not a drop of thy moist mystery from me, thou plumpest Swill-bowl." This little octavo Volume 
contains 100 pages. 

In " England's Bane ; or the Description of Drunkennesse," by Thomas Young, 4to. Lond. 1617. 
are some curious passages concerning the then Customs of Drinking : Signat. B. 3 b. " I myselfe 
have seen and (to my Grief of Conscience) may now say have in presence, yea, and amongst others 
been an Actor in the businesse, when upon our knees, after healthes to many private Punkes, a 
Health have been drunke to all the Whoores in the world." Signat. D. 1 b. " He is a Man of no 
Fashion that cannot driuke Supernatulum, carouse the Hunter's Hoop, quaffe Upsey-freese Crosse, 
bowse iaPermoysaupt, in Pimlico, in Crarnbo, with Healthes, Gloves, Numpes, Frolicks, and a thou- 
sand such domineering Inventions *, as by the Bell, by the Cards, by the Dye, by the Dozen, by the 
Yard, and so by measure we drink out of measure. There are in London drinking Schooles : so 
that Drunkennese is professed with us as a liberall Arte and Science." Signat. E. 4 b. "I have 
scene a Company amongst the very Woods and Forrests," (He speaks of the New Forest and Wind- 
sor Forest) " drinking for a Muggle. Sixe determined to trie their strengths who could drinke most. 
Glasses for the Muggle. The first drinkes a Glasse of a pint, the second two, the next three, and 
so every one multiplied! till the last taketh sixe. Then the first beginneth againe and takcth 
seven, and in this manner they drinke thrice a peece round, every Man taking a Glasse more then 
his fellow, so that hee that dranke least, which was the first, drank one and twentie pints, and 
the sixth Man thirty-six." Our author observes, Signat. D. 1 b. "Before we were acquainted with 
the lingering Wars of the Low-Countries, Drunkennes was held in the highest degree of hatred that 
might be amongst us." 

In the Dedication to " The Drunkard's Cup," a Sermon, by Robert Harris Pres 1 . of Trinity 
College Oxford, in his Works, fol. Lond. 1653. (dedicated to the Justices of the Peace about Han- 
well, in Oxfordshire,) is the following curious passage : " There is (they say) an Art of Drinking 
now, and in the World it is become a great profession. There are Degrees and Titles, given 
under the names of Roaring Boyes, damned Crew, &c. There are Lawes and Ceremonies to be 
observed both by the Firsts and Seconds, &c. There is a drinking by the foot, by the yard, &c. a 
drinking by the douzens, by the scores, &c./or the Wager, for the Victory, Man against Man, House 
against House, Town against Town, and how not ? There are also Terms of Art, fetched from Hell, 
(for the better distinguishing of the practitioners ;) one is coloured, another isfoxt, a third is gone 
to the dogs, a fourth is well to live, &c." 

* It is singular that a part of this should have been borrowed from " Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to 
the Divell by Thomas Nash, Gent. 4to. Lond. 1593. Sign. F. " Nowe he is nobody that cannot drinke Superna- 
gulum, carouse the Hunter's Hoope, quaffe U[>se freze Crosse, with Healths, Gloves, Mumpes, Polockes, and a 
thousand such domineering Inventions." 


perfectly well to agree with the reported Custom ; the middle figure is address- 
In the body of the Sermon, he mentions " the strange saucinesse of base Vermine, in tossing 
the Name of his most excellent Majesty in their foaming mouthes, and in dareing to make that a 
shooing home to draw on drink, by drinking healths to him." 

The following at p. 30~. is curious : " I doe not speake of those Beasts that must be answered 
and have right done them, in the same measure, gesture, course, &c. but of such onely as leave you 
to your measure (You will keepe a turne and your time in pledging) is it any hurt to pledge such ? 
How pledge them ? You mistake if you thinke that we speake against any true civility. If thou 
lust to pledge the Lord's prophets in woes, pledge good Fellowes in their Measures and Challenges : 
if not so, learne still to sharpe a peremptory answer to an unreasonable demand. Say I mill pray 
for the King's health, and drinkefor mine oicne." In page 299. we find " somewhat whitled" and 
in page 304. " buckt with drink" as terms expressing the different degrees of Drunkenness. 

In Gayton's Festivous Notes upon Don Quixote, fol. Lond. 1654. p. 234. I find a singular pas- 
sage, which I confess I do not thoroughly understand, concerning the then modes of Drinking. 
He is describing a Drinking Bout of female Gossips : " Dispatching a lusty Rummer of Rhenish 
to little Periwig, who passed it instantly to Steepen Malten, and she conveigh'd with much agi- 
lity to Daplusee, who made bold to stretch the Countesses Gowne into a pledge, and cover and come, 
which was the only plausible mode of drinking they delighted in : This was precisely observ'd by 
the other three, that their moistned braines gave leave for their glibb'd Tongues to chat 

The following occurs in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 146. 

" Remember us in Cups full crown'd, 
And let our Citie-health go round, 
Quite through the young Maids and the Men, 
To the ninth Number, if not tenne ; 
Untill the fired Chesnut's leape 
For Joy, to see the Fruits ye reape, 
From the plumpe Challice and the Cup 
That tempts till it be tossed up." 

What can the following mean ? Ibid. p. 87. 

" Call me the sonne of Beere, and then confine 
Me to the Tap, the Tost, the Turfe; let Wine 
Ne'er shine upon me." 

In " Folly in Print : or a Book of Rhymes," (the Title-page gone, published about the time of 
King Charles the second's Restoration,) in a Catch made before the King's coming to Worcester 
with the Scottish army," is the following: 

" Each man upon his back 
Shall swallow his Sack, 


ing himself- to his Companion, who seems to tell him that he pledges him, hold- 

This Health will indure no shrinking ; 
The rest shall dance round 
Him that lyes on the ground ; 

Fore me this is excellent drinking." 

In the Character of " A Bad Husband," at the end of "England's Jests refined and improved," 
I'-Jtno. Lond. 1687. occur the following traits. " He is a passionate Lover of Morning-Draughts, 
which he generally continues till Dinner-Time ; a rigid Exacter of Num-Groats and Collector Ge- 
neral of Foys* and Biberidgef. He admires the prudence of that Apothegm, Lets drink first ; and 
would rather sell 20 per cent, to loss than make a Dry-Bargain" 

It appears from Allan Ramsay's Poems, 4to. Edinb. 1721. p. 12O. that in Scotland, of those 
" wha had beenfow Yestreen," i. e. drunk the night before, " payment of the Drunken Groat is very 
peremptorily demanded by the Common people, next morning : but if they frankly confess the 
debt due, they are passed for two-pence." 

The same author, ibid. p. 17. mentions as in use among the Scots, " Hy jinks," "a drunken 
Game, or new project to drink and be rich ; thus, the Quaff or Cup is filled to the Brim, then one 
of the Company takes a pair of Dice, and after crying Hy-jinks, he throws them out : the number 
he casts up points out the person must drink, he who threw, beginning at himself Number One, 
and so round till the number of the persons agree with that of the Dice, (which may fall upon him- 
self if the number be within twelve ;) then he sets the Dice to him, or bids him take them : He on 
whom they fall is obliged to drink, or pay a small forfeiture in money ; then throws, and so on : but 
if he forgets to cry Hy-jinks he pays a forfeiture into the Bank. Now he on whom it falls to 
drink, if there be any thing in Bank worth drawing, gets it all if he drinks. Then, with a great 
deal of caution he empties his Cup, sweeps up the Money, and orders the Cup to be filled again, and 
then throws ; for, if he err in the articles, he loses the privilege of drawing the Money. The ar- 

* Sir Frederick Morton Eden, in his " State of the Poor," 4to. Lond. 17,97. vol. i. p. 560. gives us the following 
passage from Fergusson's Farmer's Ingle : 

" On some Feast Day, the wee-things buskit braw, 

Shall heeze her heart up wi' a silent Joy, 
Fu' cadgie that her head was up, and saw 
Her ain spun cleethingon a darling Oy, 
Careless tho' Death should make the Feast her Fay," 

After explaining Oy in a Note to signify Grand-child, from the Gaelic Ogha, he tells us " A FOY is the feast a 
person, who is about to leave a place, gives to his Friends before his departure. The metaphorical application of the 
Word in the above passage is eminently beautiful and happy." 

f " BEVERAGE, Beverege, or Btveridgt, renard, consequence. 'Tis a Word now in use for a Refreshment 
between Dinner and Supper; and we use the word when any one pays for wearing new clothes, &c." Hearne's 
Glossary to Robert of Gloucester's Chronicle in v. 

Grose says, " There is a kind of Beverage called " Foot-Ale" required from one entering on a new occupation." 
If 1 mistake not this is called in some places " to set your footing." 


ing up his knife in token of his readiness to assist and protect him d . After all 
I cannot help hazarding an opinion that the expression meant no more than that 
if you took your Cup or Glass I pledged myself to you, that I would follow 
your example 6 . The common Ellipsis, "to," is wanting. Thus we say " I'll 

tides are (1) Drink. (2) Draw. (3) Fill. (4) Cry Hy-jinks. (5) Count just. (6) Chuse your doublet 
Man, viz. when two equal Numbers of the Dice are thrown, the person whom you chuse must pay 
a double of the common forfeiture, and so must you when the Dice is in his hand. A rare Project 
this," adds honest Allan, " and no bubble, I can assure you ; for a covetous Fellow may save Money, 
and get himself as drunk as he can desire in less than an Hour's time." It is probable he might 
have subjoined " Experto crede Roberto." 

He mentions, Ibid. p. 30. a Set of Drinkers called Facers, who, he'^says, " were a Club of fair 
Drinkers who inclined rather to spend a Shilling on Ale than Two-pence for Meat. They had their 
name from a Rule they observed of obliging themselves to throw all they left in the Cup in their 
own faces : Wherefore, to save their Face and Cloaths, they prudently suck'd the Liquor clean out*." 

d Manners and Customs, vol. i. p. 49. Anglo Saxon JEra.. Mr. Douce's MS Notes say : " It was 
the custom in Beaumont and Fletcher's time, for the young Gallants to stab themselves in the Anns 
or elsewhere, in order to drink the healths of their Mistresses, or to write their names in their 
own blood." See Mason's Notes on Beaumont and Fletcher, p. 103. where many instances are 

So, in " The Oxford Drollery," 8vo. Oxf. 1671. p. 1 '24. is a Song to a Scotch tune, in which the 
following lines occur : 

3. " / stab'd mine arm to drink her health, 

The more fool I, the more fool I," &c. 

And 4. " I will no more her servant be 

The wiser I, the wiser I, 
Nor pledge her health upon my knee," &c. 

I beg the Reader's candid Examination of the subsequent passages in Rigbie's " Ingenious 
Poem called The Drunkard's Prospective, or Burning Glasse," 8vo. Lond. 1656. page 7. 

" Yea every Cup is fast to others wedg'd, 

They alwaies double drink, they must be pledg'd. 
He that begins, how many so'er they be, 
Looks that each one do drink as much as he. 

[* Dr. Jamieson notices ffhigmeleerie as the name of a ridiculous game which was occasionally used in Angus 
at a drinking Club. A Pin was stuck in the centre of a circle, from which there were as many radii as there 
were persons in the company, with the name of each person at the radius opposite to him. On the pin an Index 
was placed, and moved round by every one in his turn ; and at whatsoever person's radius it stopped, be wa 
obliged to drink off his glass, ffhigmeleeriet are " whims, fancies, crotchets."] 


give you," instead of " I'll give to you ;" " I'll pledge you," " I'll pledge to 
you." But I offer this with great deference to the established opinions on the 
subject f . 

So page 12. 

" Oh, how they'll wind men in, do what they can, 

By drinking Healths, first unto such a Man, 

Then unto such a Woman. Then they'll send 

An Health to each Man's Mistresse or his Friend ; 

Then to their Kindred's or "their Parents deare, 

They needs must have the other Jug of Beere. 

Then to their Captains and Commanders stout, 

Who for to pledge they think none shall stand out, 

Last to the King and Queen, they'll have a cruse, 

Whom for to pledge they think none dare refuse." 

In the first quotation the author's meaning seems to be this : a Man in company, not con- 
tented with taking what he chuses, binds another to drink the same quantity that he does. In 
the last, one proposes a Health which another pledges to honour by drinking to it an equal quan- 
tity with him that proposed it. 

f Pasquier, in his Recherches, p. 501. mentions that Mary, Queen of Scots, previously to her 
execution, drank to all her attendants, desiring them to pledge her. See what the same author 
has said in p. 785. of his work concerning this custom. See also the Fabliaux of M. Le Grand, 
torn. i. p. 119. and his Histoire de la Vie privfe des Francois, torn. iii. p. "270. The custom of 
pledging is to be found in the antient Romance of Ogie Danoit, where Charlemagne pledges him- 
self for Ogie. See Tressan, Corps d'Extraits de Romans de Chevalerie, torn. ii. p. 77. 

Heywood, in his " Philocothonista, or the Drunkard, opened, dissected, and anatomized," 4to. 
Lond. 1635. says: p. 45. "Of Drinking Cups divers and sundry sorts we have; some of Elme., 
some of Bos, some of Maple, some of Holly, &c. Mazers, broad -mouth'd Dishes, Noggins, 
Whiskins, Piggins, Crinzes, Ale-bowles, Wassell-bowles, Court-dishes, Tankards, Kanues, from a 
pottle to a pint, from a pint to a gill. Other Bottles we have of Leather, but they most used 
amongst the Shepheards and Harvest-people of the Countrey : small Jacks wee have in many Ale- 
houses of the Citic and suburbs, tip't with silver, besides the great Black Jacks and Bombards at 
the Court, which when the Frenchmen first saw, they reported, at their returne into their Coun- 
trey, that the Englishmen used to drinke out of their Bootes : we have besides, Cups made of 
Homes of beasts, cf Cocker-nuts, of Goords, of the Eggs of Estriches, others made of the Shells 
of divers Fishes brought from the Indies and other places, and shining like Mother of Pearle. 
Come to plate, every Taverne can afford you flat Bowles, French Bowles, Prounet Cups, Beare 
Bowles, Beakers ; and private Householders in the Citie, when they make a Feast to entertaine their 
Friends, can furnish their Cupbords with Flagons, Tankards, Beere-cups, Wine-bowles, some 
white, some percell guilt, some guilt all over, some with covers, others without, of sundry shapes 



" 'Twas usual then the Banquet to prolong, 
By Musick's charm, and some delightful Song : 
Where every Youth in pleasing accents strove 
To tell the Stratagems and Cares of Love. 
How some successful were, how others crost : 
Then to the sparkling Glass would give his Toast : 
Whose bloom did most in his opinion shine, 
To relish both the Mustek and the Wine." 

King's Works, Art of Cookery, ed. 1776. vol. iii. p. 75. 

The antient Greeks and Romans used at their meals to make Libations, pour 
out, and even drink wine, in honour of the Gods. The classical writings abound 
with proofs of this. 

and qualities." Page 51. He tells us : " There is now profest an eighth liberal art or science call'd 
Ars Bibendi, i. e. the Art of Drinking. The Students or Professors thereof call a greene Garland, 
or painted Hoope hang'd out, a Colledge : a Signe where there is lodging, man's-meate, and horse- 
meate, an Inne of Court, an Hall, or an Hostle : where nothing is sold but Ale and Tobacco, a 
Grammar Schoole : a red or blew Lattice, that they terme a Free Schoole, for all commers." "The 
Bookes which they studdy, and whose leaves they so often turne over, are, for the most part, three 
of the old Translation and three of the new. Those of the old Translation : 1. The Tankard. 1. 
The Black Jacke. 3. The Quart-pot rib'd, or Thorondell. Those of the new be these: 1. The 
Jugge. 2. The Beaker. 3. The double or single Can, or Black Pot." Among the proper phrases 
belonging to the Library, occur, p. 65. " to drinke Upse-phreese, Supernaculum, to swallow a 
Slap-dragon, or a raw Egge to see that no lesse than three at once be bare to a health." 

Our author, p. 23. observes, " Many of our nation have used the Lowe-Countrey Warres so 
long, that though they have left their money and clothes behind, yet they have brought home 
their habit of drinking." 

At page 60. he gives the following phrases then in use for being drunk. " He is foxt, hee is 
flawed, he is flustered, hee is suttle, cupshot, cut in the leg or backe, hee hath scene the French 
King, he hath swallowed an Haire or a Taverne-Token, hee hath whipt the Cat, he hath been at 
the Scriveners and learn'd to make Indentures, hee hath bit his Grannam, or is bit by a Barne- 
Weesell, with an hundred such-like Adages and Sentences." 


The Grecian poets and historians, as well as the Roman writers, have also 
transmitted to us accounts of the grateful Custom of drinking to the health of 
our benefactors and of our acquaintances. 

" Pro te, fortissime, vota 
Publica suscipimus : Bacchi tibi sumimus haustus." 

It appears that the Men of gallantry among the Romans used to take off as 
many Glasses to their respective Mistresses as there were letters in the name of 
each*. Thus, Martial: 

" Six cups to Naevia's health go quickly round, 

And be with seven the fair Justina's crown'd." 

Hence, no doubt, our Custom of toasting, or drinking Healths b , a ceremony 
which Prynne, in his work entitled " Healthes Sicknesse c ," inveighs against in 

a How exceedingly similar to our modern custom of saying to each of the Company in turn, 
" Give us a Lady to toast," is the following: 

" Da puere ab summo, age tu interibi ab infimo da Suavium." 

Plauti Asinaria. 

b In a curious little Book, intitled " The Law of Drinking," 1617. in the Collection of James 
Bindley, Esq. I find the following passage, p. 9. " These Cups proceed either in order or out of 
order. In order, when no person transgresseth or drinkes out of course, but the Cup goes round 
according to their manner of sitting : and this we call an Health Cup, because in our wishing or 
confirming of any one's health, bare-headed and standing, it is performed by all the Company. 
It is drunke without order, when the course or method of order is not observed, and that the Cup 
passeth on to whomsever we shall appoint." 

Ibid. p. 23. " Some joyne two Cups one upon another and drink them together." 

In the Preface, fol. 3 b. keeping a public House is called " the known Trade of the Ivy Bush, or 
Red Lettice." 

See a long and humourous Letter on the Origin and Custom of drinking Healths, in Lloyd's 
Evening Post, Feb. 1769." 

The following is a curious Epigram of Owen on this subject : 

" Quo tibi potarum plus est in ventre Salutum, 

Hoc minus epotis, hisce Salutis habes. 
Una Salus sanis, nullam potare Salutem, 
Non est in pot& vera Salute salus." 

P. I. lib. ii. Ep. 42. 
So in Witt's Recreations, &c. Lond. 1667. 1 find the following : 


language most strongly tinctured with enthusiastic fury d . 

In the Taller, vol. i. No, 24. is an account of the origin of the word Toast, 
in its present sense, stating that it had its rise from an accident at Bath in the 
reign of Charles the second. " It happened that on a publick day a celebrated 
beauty of those times was in the Cross Bath, and one of the crowd of her ad- 
mirers took a Glass of the Water in which the fair one stood, and drank her 
Health to the company. There was in the place a gay fellow, half fud- 
dled, who offered to jump in, and swore, though he liked not the liquor, he 
would have the Toast. He was opposed in his resolution ; yet this whim gave 
foundation to the present honour which is done to the Lady we mention in our 
liquor, who has ever since been called a Toast e ." 

"561. Health. 
" Even from my heart much Health I wish, 

No Health I'll wash with drink, 
Health wish'd, not wash'd, in words, not wine, 

To be the best I think." 

In Ward's " Woe to Drunkards," Svo. Lond. 1636. p. 553. we read : " Abandon that foolish and 
vicious Custome, as Ambrose and Basil call it, of drinking Healths, and making that a sacrifice 
to God for the health of others, which is rather a sacrifice to the Devill, and a bane of their ownc." 
It appears from the same work, p. 543. that it was a custom to drink Healths at that time upon 
their bare knees. The author is speaking of Pot-Wits and Spirits of the Buttery, " who never 
bared their knees to drinke Healthes, nor ever needed to whet their wits with Wine, or arme 
their coui'age with Pot-harnesse *." 

In Shakerley Marmion's Antiquary, Act iv. is the following passage : " Why they are as jovial as 
twenty Beggars, drink their whole Cups, sixe Glasses at a Health." 

Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 67. has some curious Remarks on 
the manner of drinking Healths in England in his time. 

A -This extraordinary man, who, though he drank no healths, yet appears to have been intoxi- 
cated with the-fumes of a most fanatical spirit, and whom the three Anticyrie could not, it should 
seem, have reduced to a state of mental sobriety, concludes his Address to the Christian Reader 
thus : " The unfained well-wisher of thy spiritual and corporal, though the oppugner of thy pocu- 
lar and pot-emptying Health, William Prynne." 

e When the Lady in Hudibras, P. II. Canto i. 1. 855. is endeavouring to persuade her Lover to 

* Whence can the following custom of Health-drinking have taken Us rise? In " A Journey from London 
to Scarborough," Svo. 1734. p. 4. speaking of Ware, the writer says : " The Great Bed here merits not half its 
fame, having only given rise to a fine allusion in ' The Recruiting Officer,' of its being less than the Bed of Ho- 
nour, where thousands may lie without touching one another. It is kept at the Old Crown Inn, and will hold a 
dozen people, heads and tails. They have a ceremony at shewing it of drinking a small Cann of Beer, and 
repeating some Health which I have already forgot." 


Though unable to controvert this account, I am by no means satisfied with it. 
The wit here is likelier to have been a consequence than the cause of this singular 

whip himself for her sake, she uses the following words, which intimate a different origin for the 
custom of Toasting : 

" It is an easier way to make 

Love by, than that which many take. 

Who would not rather suffer whipping, 

Than swallow Toasts of Bits ofRibbin?" 

In the Cheimonopegnion, or a Winter Song, by Raphael Thorius : newly translated. 12rno. Lond. 
1651. (at the end of the Hymnus Tabaci of the same date,) the following passages occur : 

" Cast wood upon the fire, thy loyns gird round 
With warmer clothes, and let the Tosts abound 
In close array, einbattet'd on the hearth." P. 2. 
So again, 

" And tell their hard adventures by the fire, 

While their friends hear, and hear, and more desire, 

And all the time the crackling Chesnuts roast, 

And each Man hath his Cup, and each his Toast." P. 7. 

From these passages it should seem to appear that the saying " Who gives a Toast ?" is synony- 
mous with " Whose turn is it to take up his Cup and propose a Health ?" It was the practice to 
put Toast into Ale with Nutmeg and Sugar. This appears from a very curious pamphlet entitled 
"Wine, Beere, Ale, and Tobacco, contending for superiority, a Dialogue," 4t.o. Lond. 1658. 
It is among Garrick's Old Plays in the British Museum, E. vol. 5. and has a Frontispiece repre- 
senting three Women and a Man playing with three dice. The first edition is in 1630. 

In the Interlude of " Like will to like, quoth the Deuill to the Collier," is a Song beginning 
" Troll the Bole, and drink to me, and troll the Bole again-a, 
And put a browns Tost in the Pot, for Philip Flemming's brain-a." 

The word " Tost" occurs in Wyther's " Abuses stript and whipt," 8vo. Lond. 1613. p. 174. 

" Will he will drinke, yet but a draught at most 
That must be spiced with a Nut-browne Tost." 

In drinking Toasts, the Ladies have a modest custom of excusing themselves, thus elegantly de- 
scribed by Goldsmith in his Deserted Village : 

" Nor the coy Maid, half willing to be prest, 
Shall kiss the Cup to pass it to the rest." 

In the Canting Vocabulary, " Who tosts now ?" is rendered " Who christens the Health ?" and 
" an old Tost" is explained to mean " a pert pleasant old Fellow." The following passage shews 
plainly the etymology of " Toss-pot :" it is extracted from " The Schoolemaster, or Teacher of 


use of the word, and puts me in mind of the well-known reply of a Mr. Brown, 
(it is in some Jest-book,) who, on having it observed to him that he had given a 
certain Lady a long while for a Toast, answered, " Yes, but I have not been able 
to toast her BROWN yet." 


Grose has defined this odd word to signify " Good liquor, of which there is 

Table Philosophie, Lond. 1583. Book iv. chap. 35. " Of merry Jests of Preaching Friers:" "A 
certaine Frier tossing the Pol, and drinking very often at the table, was reprehended by the 
Priour," &c. 

I find the following Anagram on a Toast in "The New Help to Discourse," 12mo. Lond. 1684. 

3d edit. p. 361. 




A Toast is like a Sot ; or, what is most 
Comparative, a Sot is like a Toast ; 
For when their substances in liquor sink, 
Both properly are said to be in drink." 

Brown, Bishop of Cork, being a violent Tory, wrote a book to prove that drinking Memories 
was a species of idolatry, in order to abolish a custom then prevalent among the Whigs of Ireland 
of drinking the glorious Memory of King William the third. But instead of cooling, he only in- 
flamed the rage for the Toast, to which they afterwards tacked the following Rider, " And a f*#* 
for the Bishop of Cork." See the Survey of the South of Ireland, p. 421. The Bishop's work 
was entitled " Of drinking in remembrance of the Dead;" 8vo. Lond. 1715. where, in p. 54. he 
asserts that " an Health is no other than a liquid Sacrifice in the constant sense and practice of the 
Heathen." And at p. 97. he tells us of a curious " Return given by the great Lord Bacon to such 
as pressed him to drink the King's Health ;" namely, that "he would drink for his own health, 
and pray for the King's." 

In the account of Edinburgh, vol. vi. p. 617. of the Statistical Account of Scotland, Svo. Edinb. 
1793. after the mention of a Weekly Concert, 1763. 1783. and 1791-2. we read: "The barbarous 
custom of saving the Ladies (as it was called) after St. Cecilia's Concert, by Gentlemen drinking 
immoderately to save a favourite Lady, at his Toast, has been for some years given up. Indeed 
they got no thanks for their absurdity." 


not even a drop left sufficient to wet one's Nail a ." 

To drink Supernaculum was an antient custom not only in England, but also 
in several other parts of Europe, of emptying the Cup or Glass, and then pour- 
ing the drop or two that remained at the bottom upon the person's Nail that 
drank it, to shew that he was no flincher b . 

a Among Ray's Proverbial Sayings belonging to Drink and Drinking, occurs the following : 
" Make a Pearl on your Nail." Proverbs. Svo. Lond. 1768. p. 69. 

Tom Brown, in his Letters from the Dead to the Living, vol. ii. p. 178. mentions a parson who 
had forgot even to drink over his right Thumb. This must allude to some drinking custom which 
is now forgotten. 

In the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1708. No. 20. is the following Qusery : 

" Q. Say whence, great Apollo, 

The Custom we follow, 
When drinking brisk liquors per Bumber, 

In a circular pass, 

We quaffe e'ry Glass ; 
And why is it o'er the left Thumb, Sir ? 

A. When mortals, with Wine, 
Make their faces to shine, 
'Tis to look like Apollo in luster ; 
And, circulatory, 
To follow his glory, 

Which over the left Thumb * they must, Sir." 

In " The Winchester Wedding," a popular ballad, preserved in Ritson's "Antient Songs," Svo. 
Lond. 1792. p. 297. is another allusion to Supernaculum : 

" Then Phillip began her Health, 

And turn'd a Beer-Glass on his Thumb; 
But Jenkin was reckon'd for drinking 

The best in Christendom. 

b I have a little pleasant Dissertation in Latin entitled "De Supernaculo Anglorum." 4to. Lips. 
1746. In page 8. is the following passage : " Est autem Anglis Supernaculum, Ritus in Conviviis 
circulatim ita bibendi ut poculo exhausto, ac super unguem excusso, residuoque delincto, ne gut- 
tulam quidem superesse, Compotoribus demonstretur." 

Bingham, as cited by Bourne, chap, xviii. has a Quotation from St. Austin on superstitious Observations, 
among which, lie says, " You are told in a Fit of Convulsions or Shortness of Breath, to ho/d your left Thumb 
with your right Hand." 



Grose explains this as signifying to challenge a person to pour out all the 
Wine in the Bottle into his Glass, undertaking to drink it, should it prove more 
than the Glass would hold b . It is commonly said to one who hesitates to empty 
a Bottle that is nearly out. 

In the same Work, p. 6. is given the etymology of the word f : " Est autem illud Vox hybrida, 
ex Latina praepositione ' super' et Germano ' nagel' (a nail) composita, qui mos, nova vocabula 
iingendi Anglis potissimum usitatus est, vocemque Supernaculi apud eosdem produxit." 

a I know nothing of the meaning of this word. I have been told that it is a College expression ; 
and contains a threat, in the way of pleasantry, to black the person's face with a burnt Cork, 
should he flinch or fail to empty the Bottle. Possibly it may have been derived from the German 
" buzzen," sordes auferre, q. d. " Off with the Lees at bottom." 

b Bumpers are of great antiquity. Thus Paulus Warnefridus is cited in Du Cange's Glossary, 
telling us, in lib. v. de Gestis Langobard. cap. 2. " Cumque ii qui diversi generis potiones ei a 
Rege deferebant, de verbo Regis eum rogarent, ut totam nalam biberet, ille in honorem Regis se 
totam bibere promittens, parum aquae libabat de argenteo Calice." Vide Martial, lib. i. Ep. 7<2. 
lib. viii. 51. &c. 

I find the subsequent dissuasive from Drunkenness, a vice to which it must be confessed the 
drinking of Healths, and especially in full Bumpers, does but too naturally tend, in Ch. Johnson's 
Wife's Relief: 

' ' Oh when we swallow down 

Intoxicating Wine, we drink Damnation j 

Naked we stand the sport of mocking fiends, 

Who grin to see our noble nature vanquish'd. 

Our passions then like swelling Seas burst in, 

The Monarch Reason's govern'd by our blood, 

The noisy populace declare for Liberty, 

While Anarchy and riotous Confusion 

Usurp the Sov'reign's throne, claim his prerogative, 

Till gentle Sleep exhales the boiling surfeit." 

That it is good to be drunk once a Month, says the learned Author of the Vulgar Errors, is a 
common Flattery of Sensuality, supporting itself upon Physic and the healthful effects of Inebriation. 
It is a striking instance of " the doing ill," as we say, " that good may come out of it," It may 

t See also p. 225. Note. 



The vulgar saying " Under the Rose," is stated to have taken its rise from 
convivial Entertainments, where it was an antient custom to wear Chaplets of 
Roses about the Head, on which occasions, when persons desired to confine 
their words to the Company present, that they " might go no farther," they 
commonly said " they are spoken under the Rose." 

The Germans have hence a Custom of describing a Rose in the Cieling over 
the Table. 

In the Comedy of Lingua, 1657 . Act ii. sc. 1 . Appetitus says : " Crown me 
no Crowns but Bacchus' Crown of Roses." 

Nazianzen, according to Sir Thomas Browne, seems to imply, in the follow- 
in" Verses, that the Rose, from a natural property, has been made the symbol 
of Silence : 

happen that Inebriation, by causing vomiting, may cleanse the stomach, &c. but it seems a very 
dangerous kind of dose, and of which the " repetatur haustus," too quickly repeated, will prove 
that men may pervert that which Nature intended for a cordial into the most baneful of all poi- 
sons. It has been vulgarly called " giving a fillip to Nature." 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, Svo. Edinb. 1791. vol. i. p. 59. the Minis- 
ter of Kirkmichael tells us : " In extraordinary cases of distress, we have a Custom which deserves 
to be taken notice of ; and that is, when any of the lower people happen to be reduced by sick- 
nesses, losses, or misfortunes of any kind, a friend is sent to as many of their neighbours as they 
think needful, to invite them to what they call a Drinking. This Drinking consists in a little 
small Beer, with a bit of Bread and Cheese, and sometimes a small Glass of Brandy or Whisky, 
previously provided by the needy persons or their friends. The Guests convene at the time ap- 
pointed, and after collecting a Shilling a-piece, and sometimes more, they divert themselves for 
about a couple of hours with Music and Dancing, and then go home. Such as cannot attend 
themselves, usually send their charitable contribution by any neighbour that chooses to go. 
These meetings sometimes produce 5, 6, and 7 pounds to the needy person or family." 

Ibid. vol. xviii. p. 123. Parish of Gargunnock, County of Stirling. " There is one prevailing 
custom among our Country People, which is sometimes productive of much evil. Every thing is 
bought and sold over a Bottle. The people who go to the Fair in the full possession of their 
faculties, do not always transact their business, or return to their homes, in the same state." 


" Utque latct Rosa verna suo putamine clausa, 
Sic Os vincla ferat, validisque arctetur habenis, 
Indicatque suis prolixa silentia labris." 

Lemnius and others have traced this saying to another origin. The Hose, 
say they, was the Flower of Venus, which Cupid consecrated to Harpocrates, 
the God of Silence ; and it was therefore the emblem of it, to conceal the mys- 
teries of Venus a . 

* Wai-burton, commenting on that passage in the first Part of Shakspeare's Henry VI. 

" From off this Brier pluck a white Rose with me," 

says : " this is given as the original of the two Badges of the houses of York and Lancaster, whe- 
ther truly or not, is no great matter. But the proverbial expression of saying a thing under the 
Rose, I am persuaded, came from thence. When the nation had ranged itself into two great fac- 
tions, under the white and red Rose, and were perpetually plotting and counter-plotting against 
one another, then when a matter of faction was communicated by either party to his friend in the 
same quarrel, it was natural for him to add, that he said it under the Rose ; meaning that, as it 
concerned the faction, it was religiously to be kept secret." 

Mr. Upton, another of the Commentators, gives us the following remarks on the Bishop's Cri- 
ticism. " This is ingenious ! What pity that it is not learned too ! The Rose (as the fables say) 
was the symbol of silence, and consecrated by Cupid to Harpocrates, to conceal the lewd pranks 
of his mother. So common a book as Lloyd's Dictionary might have instructed Dr. Warburton in 
this: "Huic Harpocrati Cupido Veneris films parentis sua; rosam dedit in munus, ut scilicet si 
quid licentius dictum, vel actum sit in convivio, sciant tacenda esse omnia. Atque idcirco veteres 
ad finem convivii sub rosa, Anglice under the rose, transacta esse omnia ante digressum contesta- 
bantur ; cujus forma? vis eadem esset, atque ista Mta-upvapwa. <n^na,i. Probant hanc rcm versus 
qui reperiuntur in marmore : 

' Est rosa flos Veneris, cujus quo furta laterent 

Harpocrati matris dona dicavit amor. 
Inde rosam mensis hospes suspendit amicis, 
Convivse ut sub ea dicta tacenda sciat'." 

See Reed's edition of Shakspeare, 8vo. Lond. 1803. vol. xiii. p. 66. It is observable that it was 
antiently a fashion to stick a Rose in the ear. At Kirtling, in Cambridgeshire, the magnificent 
residence of the first Lord North, there is a juvenile portrait, (supposed to be of Queen Elizabeth,) 
with a red Rose sticking in her ear. Ibid. vol. x. p. 355. 

Newton, in his " Herball to the Bible," 8vo. Lond. 15S7. p. 223-4. says : " I will heere adde a 
common Countrey Custome that is used to be done with the Rose. When pleasaunt and merry com- 
panions doe friendly meete together to make goode cheere, as soone as their Feast or Banket is 
ended, they give faithfull promise mutually one to another, that whatsoever hath been merrily 




. Grose, in his Provincial Glossary, explains Hoi-Nob (sometimes pronounced 
Hab-Nal) as a North Country word, signifying " At a venture," " rashly." 

He tells us, also, that Hob or Hub is the North Country name for the back of 
the Chimney. We find the following in his Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar 
Tongue : " Will you hob or nob with me ?" a Question formerly in fashion 

spoken by any in that assembly, should be wrapped up in silence, and not to be carried out of the 
Doores. For the Assurance and Performance whereof, the tearme which they use, is, that all things 
there saide must be taken as spoken under the Rose. 

" Whereupon they use in their Parlours and Dining Roomes to hang ROSES over their Tables, to 
put the Companie in memorie of Secrecie, and not rashly or indiscreetly to clatter and blab out 
what they heare. Likewise, if they chaunce to shew any Tricks of wanton, unshamefast, immodest, 
or irreverent behaviour either by word or deed, they protesting that all was spoken under the Roe, 
do give a strait charge and pass a Covenant of Silence and Secrecy with the hearers, that the same 
shall not be blowne abroad, nor tailed in the Streetes among any others." 

So Peacham in " The Truth of our Times," 12mo. Lond. 1638. p. 173. " In many places as well 
in England as in the Low Countries, they have over their Tables a Rose painted, and what is 
spoken under the Rose must not be revealed. The Reason is this; the Rose being sacred to Venus, 
whose amorous and stolen Sports, that they might never be revealed, her sonne Cupid would needes 
dedicate to Harpocrates the God of Silence." 

I know not whence the saying, that needs not to be explained, of " plucking a Rose" has ori- 
ginated, if it had not its rise in some modest excuse for absence in the garden dictated by feminine 
bashfulness. Perhaps the passage already quoted from Newton's Herball to the Bible may ex- 
plain it. 

Speaking of the Sex reminds me of a remarkable saying, now pretty much forgotten, though 
noticed by Sir Thomas Browne, i. e. that " Smoak doth follow the fairest," as usual in his time in 
England, and it may be in all Europe. " Whereof," he says, " although there seem no natural 
ground, yet it is the Continuation of a very antient opinion, as Petrus Yictorius and Casaubon 
have observed from a passage in Athenaeus, wherein a Parasite thus describes himself : 
" To every Table first I come, 
Whence Porridge I am called by some. 
Like Whipps and Thongs to all I ply, 
Like Smoak unto the Fair IJly." 

HOB OR NOB. 243 

at polite Tables, signifying a Request or Challenge to drink a Glass of Wine 
with the proposer ; if the party challenged answered Nob, they were to chuse 
whether white or red." His explanation of the origin of this Custom is ex- 
tremely improbable*. 

The Exposition modestly hinted at in the fifth Volume of Reed's Edition of 
Shakspeare, p. 669. seems much more consonant with truth. It occurs in a 
Note upon that passage in Shakspeare's "Twelfth-Night, or What you Will b ," 
where a Character speaking of a Duellist says, " His incensement at this mo- 
ment is so implacable, that satisfaction can be none but by pangs of death, and 
sepulchre : hob, nob, is his word ; give't or take't." In Anglo-Saxon, habban is 
to have, and nsebban to want. May it not therefore be explained in this sense, 
as signifying, "Do you chuse a Glass of Wine, or would you rather let it 
alone c ?" 

It is, " This foolish Custom is said to have originated in the days of good Queen Bess, thus : 
When great Chimneys were in fashion, there was, at each corner of the Hearth or Grate, a small 
elevated projection called the Hob, and behind it a Seat. In Winter time the beer was placed on 
the Hob to warm, and the cold Beer was set on a small Table, said to have been called the Nob, so 
that the Question will you have Hob or Nob seems only to have meant, will you have warm or cold 
Beer ? i. e. Beer from the Hob, or Beer from the Nob." 

I found the following, which had been cut out of some Newspaper for Dec, 1772, in Dr. Lort's 
interleaved Copy of my Popular Antiquities. 

" The Definition of Hob or Nob. 

" In the Days of good Queen Bess (we find it upon record) the Maids of Honour not only used 
manly exercise, but eat roast beef and drank ale for breakfast ; and as in their masculine exercises 
they were liable to accidents and the toothe ache, so it was natural for them occasionally to warm 
their beer, which they who required such indulgence generally did by ordering their cupfuls to 
be placed on the Hob of the Grate ; and when any of the company called for beer, it was just as 
natural for their attendants to ask ' from the Hob or not from the Hob ?' which constant practice 
(from the constant indisposition of one or other of these fair ladies) was soon not only remarked 
by the Courtiers, but also perhaps first humorously adopted by them, with the courtly vice of cor- 
rupting Hob or no Hob into HOB or NOB." 

To this I beg leave to apply the "Credat Judseus Apella, non Ego.'' 
b Mr. Steevens thinks the word derived from hap ne hap. 

c Mr. M. Mason asks in a Note, " Is not this the original of our hob nob, or challenge to drink 
a Glass of Wine at dinner ? The phrase occurs in Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub : 



Sir Thomas Browne is of opinion that the Human Faces described in Ale 
House-Signs, in Coats of Arms, &c. for the Sun and Moon, are Reliques of 

' I put it 

, Even to your Worship's bitterment hab nab 

I shall have a chance o' the dice for't, I hope'." 

and Mr. Malone adds a passage from Holinshed's History of Ireland : " The Citizens in their rage 
shot liable or nabbe, at random." 

In The Workes of John Heywoode, 4to. Lond. 1566. Signal. A. 4. is the following pas- 

"Where Wooers hoppe in and out, long time may bryng 

Him that hoppeth best, at last to have the Ryng. 

I hoppyng without for a Ringe of a Rush, 

And while 1 at length debate and beate the Bushe, 

There shall steppe in other Men, and catche the Burdes, 

And by long time lost in many vaine wurdes. 

Betwene these two Wives, make Slouth speede confounde 

While betweene two Stooles my tayle goe to the grounde. 

By this, sens we see Slouth must breede a scab, 

Best sticke to the tone out of hand, hab or nab." 

In Sir John Harrington's Epigrams, Book iv. Ep. 91. we read : 
" Not of Jack Straw, with his rebellious Crew, 

That set King, Realme, and Lawes at hab or nab, 
Whom London's worthy Maior so bravely slew 
With dudgeon Dagger's honourable stab." 

In " The New Courtier," a popular Ballad, preservedjn Ritson's Antient Songs, 8vo. Lond. 1/90. 
p. 278. we find Hab nab thus introduced : 


Paganism, and that these Visages originally implied Apollo and Diana. But- 

" I write not of Religion 
For (to tell you truly) we have none. 
If any me to question call, 
With Pen or Sword, Hub nab's the word, 
Have at all." 

In "The Character of a Quack Astrologer;" 4to. Lond. 1673. Signat. C. 3 b. speaking of his Al- 
manack, we are told " He writes of the Weather hob nab, and as the Toy takes him, chequers the 
Year with foul and fair." 

The following is from the Antiquarian Repertory, vol. ii. p. 98. where M. Jorevin is speaking of 
Worcester, and the Stag Inn there : " According to the custom of the Country, the Landladies sup 
with the Strangers and Passengers, and if they have daughters, they are also of the company, to 
entertain the Guests at Table with pleasant conceits, where they drink as much as the Men : but 
what is to me the most disgusting in all this is, that when one drinks the Health of any per- 
son in Company, the custom of tlie Country does not permit you to drink more than half the 
Cup, which is filled up, and presented to him or her whose liealth you have drank." He next 
speaks of Tobacco which it seems the Women smoked as well as the Men. M. Jorevin was here in 
Charles the second's reign*. 

The following curious passage is from " Galateo, of Manners and Behaviour," 4to. b. I. (and of 
which the scene lies in Italy,) Signat. (Q. 2. " Now to drink all out every Man : (Drinking and Car- 
rowsing) which is a Fashion as little in use amongst us, as y e terme itselfe is barbarous and strange : 
I meane, Ick bring you. is sure a foule thing of itselfe, and in our Countrie so coldly accepted 
yet, that we must not go about to bring it in for a fashion. If a Man doe quaffe or cairouse 
unto you, you may honestly say nay to pledge him, and geveing him thankes, confesse your 
weaknesse, that you are not able to beare it -. or else to doe him a pleasure, you may for 
curtesie sake taste it : and then set downe the Cup to -them that will, and charge yourselfe no 

In,a curious Book entitled, " A Character of England as it was lately presented in a Letter to a Nobleman 
of France : with Reflections upon Callus Castratus," (attributed to John Evelyn) Unu>. Lond. 165.9. the author 
speaking of Taverns says, p. 31. " Your L. will not believe me that the Ladies of greatest quality suffer themselves 
to be treated in one of these Taverns, but you will be more astonisht when 1 assure you that they drink their 
crowned Cups roundly, strain healths through their Smocks, daunce after the Fiddle, kiss freely, and term it an 
honourable Treat." At p. 37. we are told, there is " a sort of perfect Debauchees, who stile themselves Hec- 
tors, that in their mad and unheard of revels, pierce their Veins to quaff their own blood, which some of them 
have drank to that excess, that they died of the Intemperance." At p. 36. we read ; " I dont remember, my 
Lord, ever to have known (or very rarely,} a Health drank in France, no, not the Kings ; and if we say a votre 
SaMe, Monsieur, it neither expects pledge or ceremony. 'Tis here so the Custome to drink to every one at the 
Table, that by the time a Gentleman has done his duty to the whole Company, he is ready to fall asleep, where- 
as with us, we salute the whole Table with a single Glass onely." 


ler, the Author of Hudibras, asks a shrewd Question on this : head, which I do 
not remember to have seen solved : 

" Tell me but what's the nat'ral cause, 

Why on a Sign no Painter draws 

The full Moon ever, but the half*?" 

There is a well known Proverb, " Good Wine needs no bush b ;" i. e. nothing 
to point out where it is to be sold. The subsequent passage seems to prove 
that antiently Tavern Keepers kept both a Bush e and a Sign : a Host is 
speaking : 

" I rather will take down my Bush and Sign 
Then live by means of riotous expence." 

Good Newes and Bad Newes, by S. R. 4to. Lond. 1622. 

As does the following that antiently putting up Boughs upon any thing was 

further. And although this, Ick bring you, as I have heard many learned Men say, hath beenean 
auncient Custome in Greece : and that the Grecians doe much commend a good man of that 
time, Socrates by name, for that hee sat out one whole night long, drinking a Vie with another 
good man, Aristophanes ; and yet the next morning, in the breake of the Daye, without any rest 
uppon his drinking, made such a cunning Geometrical Instrument, that there was no maner 
of faulte to be found in the same : bycause the drinking, of Wine after this sorte in a Fie, in 
such excesse and waste, is a shrewde Assault to trie the strength of him that quaffes so lustily." 

Hudibras, P. ii. C. iii. 1. 783. 

b In " Greene in Conceipt," 4to. 1593. p. 10, we read : " Good Wine needes no Ivie Bush." 

c In " England's Parnassus," Lond. 1600. the first line of the Address to the Reader runs thus : 
" I hang no Ivie out to sell my Wine :" and in Brathwaite's " Strappado for the Divell," 8vo. 
Lond. 1615. p. 1. there is a Dedication to Bacchus, " sole Soveraigne of the Ivy-Bush, prime founder 
of Red-Lettices," &c. 

In Dekker's "Wonderful Yeare," 4to. Lond. 1603. Signat. F. we read : "Spied a Bush at the 
ende of a Pole (the auncient Badge of a Countrey Ale-House)." 

In Vaughan's Golden Grove, 8vo. Lond. 1608. Signat. B b. b. is the following passage : " Like 
as an Ivy-Bush put forth at a Pintrie, is not the cause of the Wine, but, a Signe that Wine is to bee 
sold there ; so,, likewise, if we see smoke appearing in a Chimney, wee know that Fire is there, al- 
beit the Smoke is not the Cause of the Fire." 

The following is from Harris's " Drunkard's Cup," p. 299. " Nay if the House be not worth an 
Ivie-Bush, let him have his tooles about him ; Nutmegs, Rosemary, Tobacco, with other the ap- 
purtenances, and he knowes how of puddle-ale to make a Cup of English Wine. 


an Indication that it was to be sold, which if I do not much mistake, is also the 
Reason why an old Beesom (which is a sort of dried BusK) is put up at the 
top-mast head of a ship or boat when she is to be sold d . 

" In olde times, such as solde Horses were wont to put Flowers or Boughes 
upon their heads," (I think they now use Ribbands) "to reveale that they were 
vendible." See the English Fortune Teller, 4to. Lond. 1 609. Signal. G. 3. 

The Checquers, at this time a common Sign of a publick House, was originally 
intended, I should suppose, for a kind of Draught-Board, called Tables, and 
shewed that there that Game might be played. From their colour which was 
red, and the similarity to a Lattice, it was corruptly called the Red Lettuce, 
which word is frequently used by antient Writers to signify an Ale-House. See 

Coles, in his Introduction to the Knowledge of Plants, p. C5. says : " Box and Ivy last long green, 
and therefore Vintners make their Garlands thereof : though perhaps Ivy is the rather used, because 
of the antipathy between it and wine." 

In a curious Poem entitled, " Poor Robin's Perambulation from Saffron Walden to London, 
July 1678," 4to. Lond. 1678, at p. 16. we read : 

" Some Alehouses upon the Road I saw, 
And some with Bushes shewing they Wine did draw." 

By the following passage in " Whimzies: or a new Cast of Characters," l<2mo. Lond. 1631. 
Second Part, p. 15. it should seem that Signs in Ale-Houses succeeded Birch-poles. The au- 
thor is describing a Painter. " He bestowes his Pencile on an aged piece of decayed Canvas in a 
sooty Ale-house, where Mother Redcap must be set out in her Colours. Here hee and his barmy 
Hostesse drew both together, but not in like nature; she in Ale, he in Oyle : but her commoditie 
goes better downe, which he meanes to have his full share of, when his worke is done. If she 
aspire to the Conceite of a Signe, and desire to have her Birch-pole pulled downe, hee will supply her 
with one." 

In Scotland a Wisp of Straw upon a Pole is, or was heretofore the indication of an Ale House. 
So the quotation already made in p. 159. from Dunbar's Will of Maister Andro Kennedy : " Et 
unum Ale-wisp ante me." 

d In Nash's "Christ's Teares over Jerusalem," 4to. Lond. 1613. p. 145. speaking of the Head 
Dresses of London Ladies, he says ; " Even as Angels are painted in Church Windowes, with glo- 
rious golden fronts, besette with Sunne-beames, so beset they their foreheads on either side with 
glorious borrowed gleamy buslies ; which rightly interpreted should signifie beauty to sell, since a 
Bush is not else hanged forth, but to invite men to buy. And in Italy, when they sette any Beast to 
sale, they crowns his head with Garlands, and bedeck it with gaudy blossoms, as full as ever it 
may stick." 


the Antiquarian Repertory, vol. i. p. 50. Thus I read in " The Drunkard's Pros- 
pective, c." by Joseph Rigbie, 8vo. Loud, lb'56. p. 6. 

" The Tap-House fits them for a Jaile, 
The Jaile to th' Gibbet sends them without faile, 
For those that through a Lattice sang of late 
You oft find crying through an Iron Grate 6 ." 

e In the old Play called The first Part of Antonio and Melida, Marston's Works, 8vo. Lond. 
1633. Signal. E. 3 b. we read : " as well knowen by my wit, as an Ale-house by a Red Lattice." 

So, in " A Fine Companion," one of Shackerly Marmion's Plays : " A Waterman's Widow at the 
sign of the Red Lattice in Southwark." Again, in Arden of Faversham, 1592 : 
" his Sign pulled down, and his lattice born away." 

Again, in " The Miseries of inforc'd Marriage," Ifi07- 

" 'tis treason to the Red Lattice, enemy to the Sign-post." 

Hence, says Mr. Steevens, the present Checqucrs. Perhaps the Reader will express some surprize 
when he is told that shops with the Sign of the Checquers were common among the Romans. See 
a View of the left hand street of Pompeii (No. 9.) presented by Sir William Hamilton, (together 
with several others, equally curious,) to the Antiquary Society. 

In K. Henry iv. P. ii. Falstatf 's Page, speaking of Bardolph, says : " he called me even now, my 
lord, through a Red Lattice, and I could see no part of his face from the window." 

This designation of an Ale-House is not altogether lost, though the original meaning of the 
Word is, the Sign being converted into a green lettuce; of which an instance occurs in Brownlow- 
slreet, Holborn. In the last Will and Testament of Lawrence Lucifer, the old Batchiler of Limbo, 
at the end of the " Blacke Booke," 4to. 1604. is the following passage : " Watched sometimes ten 
houres together in an ale-house, ever and anon peeping forth, and sampling thy nose with the 
Red Lattice." 

See Reed's edit, of Shakspeare, vol. v. p. S3. 

1 find however the following in the Gent. Mag. for June 1793, vol. Ixiii. p. 531. 

" It has been related to me by a very noble personage that in the reign of Philip and Mary the 
then Earl of Arundel had a Grant to licence publick Houses, and part of the armorial bearings of 
that noble Family is A CHEC&UERED BOARD : wherefore the publican to shew that he had a licence, 
put out that mark as part of his Sign. J. B." 

Here, may it not be asked why the publicans take but a part of the Arundel Arras, and why 
this part rather than any other ? 

In the same Work, for Sept. 1794, vol. Ixiv. p. 797- is another explanation. The Writer says, " I 
think it was the great Earl Warrenne, if not, some descendant or heir near him, not beyond the 
time of Rufus, had an exclusive power of granting licences to sell beer. That his agent might 


In confirmation of the above hypothesis I subjoin a curious passage from 
Gayton's Festivous Notes on Don Quixote, p. 340. " Mine Host's policy for 
the drawing Guests to his House and keeping them when he had them, is farre 
more ingenious than our duller ways of Billiards, Kettle Pins, Noddy Boards, 
Tables, Truncks, Shovel Boards, Fox and Geese, or the like. He taught his 
Bullies to drink (more Romano) according to the number of the Letters on the 
errant Ladies name : 

" Clodia sex Cyathis, septem Justina bibatur :** 

the pledge so followed in Dulcinea del Toboso would make a house quickly 
turn round. 

In Richard Flecknoe's ^Enigmatical Characters, 8vo. Lond. 1665. p. 84. 
speaking "of your fanatick Reformers," he observes, "As for the SIGNS, they 
have pretty well begun their Reformation already, changing the Sign of the 
Salutation of the Angel and our Lady, into the Souldier and Citizen, and the 
Katherine Wheel into the Cat and Wheel ; so as there only wants their making 
the Dragon to kill St. George, and The Devil to tweak St. Dunstan by the 
nose, to make the Reformation compleat. Such ridiculous work they make of 
their Reformation, and so zealous are they against all Mirth and Jollity, as they 
would pluck down the Sign of the Cat and Fiddle too, if it durst but play so 
loud as they might hear it f ." 

In a curious Poem, entitled, " Poor Robin's Perambulation from Saffron-Wal- 
den to London, July 1678. 4to. Lond. 1678. the following Lines occur, p. <22. 
" Going still nearer London, I did come 
In little space of time to Newington. 
Now as I past along I cast my Eye on 
The Signs of Cock and Pie, and Bull and Lion." 

As do the following in the British Apollo, fol. Lond. 1710. vol. iii. No. 34-. 

collect the Tax more readily, the door posts were painted in CHE&UERS, the Arms of Warren then 
and to this Day." 

f There is a curious Letter in the Gent. Mag. for Sept. 1770. vol. xl. p. 403. on the Original of 
Signs denoting Trades. 



"I'm amaz'd at the Signs, 

As I pass through the town : 
To see the odd mixture, 

A Magpye and Crown, 
The Whale and the Crow, 

The Razor and Hen, 
The Leg and sev'n Stars, 

The Bible and Swan, 
The Ax and the Bottle, 

The Tun and the Zufc, 
The Eagle and CAz'W, 

The Shovel and Boots." 

"In London," says Mr. Steeveiis, "we have still the Sign of the Bull and 

5 In "The Compleat Vintner, &c. a Poem, 8vo. Loud. 1720. p. 36. we read : 
" Without, there hangs a noble Sign, 
Where golden Grapes in Image shine 
To crown the Bush, a little punch- 
Gut Bacchus dangling of a Bunch, 
Sits loftily enthron'd upon 
What's call'd (in Miniature) a Tun." 

Again, p. 38. 

" If in Moorfields a Lady stroles, 

Among the Glvbes and Golden Bulls, 
Where e're they hang, she may be certain 
Of knowing what shall be her Fortune ; 
Her Husband's too, I dare to say, 
But that she better knows than they. 
The pregnant Madam, drawn aside 
By promise to be made a Bride, 
If near her time, and in distress 
For some obscure convenient place, 
Let her but take the pains to waddle 
About, till she observes a Cradle, 
With the foot hanging tow'rds the door, 
And there she may be made secure, 


Gate, which exhibits but an odd combination of Images. It was originally 
(as I learn from the title-page of an old Play) the Bullogne Gate, i. e. one of the 
Gates of Bullogne : designed perhaps as a compliment to Henry VIII. who 
took that place in 1544. The Bullogne Mouth, now the Bull and Mouth, had 
probably the same origin, i. e. the Mouth -of the Harbour of Bullogne b ." 

To these may be added the Bell and Savage, i. e. the (< Belle Sauvage," who 
was once to be shewn there. 

The three Blue Balls, (see the Antiquarian Repertory,) prefixed to the doors 
and windows of Pawnbrokers' Shops, (by the vulgar humourously enough said 
to indicate that it is two to one that the things pledged, are ever redeemed) were 
in reality the Arms of a set of Merchant* from Lombardy, who were the first 
that publickly lent money on pledges. They dwelt together in a Street from 
them named Lombard Street in London. The appellation of Lombard was for- 
merly all over Europe considered as synonimous to " Usurer." 


THE Sign of a Barber's Shop being singular, has attracted much notice. It 
is generally distinguished by a long Pole instead of a Sign. In the Athenian 
Oracle, vol. i. p. 354. this Custom is thus accounted for : it is of remote anti- 
quity : "The Barber's Art was so beneficial to the publick, that he who first 
brought it up in Rome, had, as authors relate, a Statue erected to his memory. 
In England they were in some sort the Surgeons of old times, into whose Art 

From all the parish plagues and terrors. 
That wait on poor weak Woman's errors < 
But if the head hangs tow'rds the House, 
As very oft we find it does, 
Avant, for she's a cautious Bawd, 
Whose Bus'ness only lies abroad." 
* See Heed's Shakspeare, Svo. Lond. 1803. 


those beautiful Leeches", our fair Virgins, were also accustomed to be initiated. 
In Cities and corporate Towns, they still retain their name of Barber Chirur- 
gions. They therefore used to hang their Basons out upon Poles, to make 
known at a distance to the weary and wounded Traveller where all might 
have recourse. They used Poles, as some Inns still gibbet their Signs, across a 
Town b ." 

a This is an old word for a Doctor or Surgeon. 

k In " The British Apollo," fol. Lond. 1708. vol. i. No. 3. a Querist saya : 

" I'de know why he that selleth Ale, 
Hangs out a chequer'd Part per pale ; 
And why a Barber at Port-hole 
Puts forth a party-colour'd Pole ? 

A. In antient Rome, when men lov'd fighting, 
And wounds and scars took much delight in, 
Man-menders then had noble pay, 
Which we call Surgeons to this day. 
'Twas order'd that a huge long Pole, 
With Bason deck'd, should grace the Hole 
To guide the wounded, who unlopt 
Could walk, on Stumps the others hopt : 
But, when they ended all their Wars, 
And Men grew out of love with scars, 
Their Trade decaying; to keep swimming, 
They joyn'd the other Trade of trimming ; 
And on their Poles to publish either 
Thus twisted both their Trades together." 

The other is too ridiculous : 

"A jolly Hostess 

Took Negro Drawer, and paid postage. 

The Brat, as soon as come to light 

Was chequer'd o'er with black and white. 

Since which to this Virago's honour 

O'er Door they've blazon'd such a banner" ! ! ! 

I find the following odd passage in Gayton's Festivious Notes upon Don Quixote, p. 111. " The 
Barber hath a long pole elevated ; and at the end of it a Labell, wherein is, in a fair text hand 


I am better pleased with the subsequent explanation which I find in the Anti- 
quarian Repertory. The Barber's Pole has been the subject of many Conjee- 
written this word Money. Now the Pole signifies itself, which joined to the written word makes 
Pole-money. There's the Rebus, that Cut-bert is no-body without Pole-money." 

The subsequent is an Extract from Green's " Quip for an upstart Courtier, or a quaint Dispute 
between Velvet Breeches and Cloth Breeches," 4to. Lond. 1620. Signat. D. 2 b. " Barber, when you 
come to poor Cloth Breeches, you either cut his beard at your own pleasure, or else, in disdaine aske 
him if he will be trim'd with Christ's cut, round like the half of a Holland Cheese, mocking both 
Christ and us." 

In " Wits, Fits, and Fancies," 4to. Lond. 1614. p. 177. we read : " A Gentleman gave a Gentle- 
woman a fine twisted bracelet of Silke and Golde, and seeing it the next day upon another Gen- 
tlewoman's wrist, said, it was like a Barber's Girdle, soone sliptfrom one side to another." 

On that passage in Measure for Measure : 

" the strong Statutes 
Stand like the FORFEITS in a BARBER'S SHOP, 
As much in mock us mark ;" 

Dr. Warburton observes, " Barbers' Shops were, at all times, the resort of idle people : 

" Tonstrina erat quacdam : hie solebamus fere 
. Plerumque earn opperiri." 

which Donatus calls apta sedes otiosis. Formerly with us, the better sort of people went to the Bar- 
ber's shop to be trimmed ; who then practised the under parts of Surgery : so that he had occasion 
for numerous instruments which lay there ready for use ; and the idle people, with whom his shop 
was generally crouded, would be perpetually handling and misusing them. To remedy which, I 
suppose, there was placed up against the wall a table of Forfeitures, adapted to every offence of this 
kind ; which it is not likely would long preserve its authority." 

Mr. Steevens says, " I have conversed with several people who had repeatedly read the List of 
forfeits alluded to by Shakspeare, but have failed in my endeavours to procure a copy of it. The 
metrical one published by the late Dr. Kenrick, was a forgery." 

Dr. Henley observes, " I believe Dr. Warburton's explanation in the main to be right, only that 
instead of chirurgical instruments, the barber's implements were principally his razors ; his whole 
stock of which, from the number and impatience of his customers on a Saturday night or a market 
morning, being necessarily laid out for use, were exposed to the idle fingers of the bye-standers in 
waiting for succession to the chair. These Forfeits were as much in mock as mark, both because 
the barber had no authority of himself to enforce them, and also as they were of a ludicrous na- 
ture. I perfectly remember to have seen them in Devonshire (printed like King Charles's Rules,) 
though I cannot recollect the contents." 


tures, some conceiving it to have originated from the word Poll or Head, with seve- 
ral other conceits as far-fetched and as unmeaning ; but the true Intention of that 
party-coloured Staff was to shew that the Master of the Shop practised Surgery, 
and could breathe a Vein as well as mow a Beard : such a Staff being to this 
Day, by every Village practitioner, put into the hand of a patient undergoing the 
operations of phlebotomy. The white Band, which encompasses the Staff, was 
meant to represent the fillet thus elegantly twined about it. 

In confirmation of this Opinion the reader may be referred to the Cut of the 
Barber's Shop in " Comenii Orbis pictus," where the patient under phlebotomy 
is represented with a Pole or Staff in his hand. And that this is a very antient 
practice appears from an Illumination in a Missal of the time of Edward the 
first, in the possession of Wild, Esq. 

Lord Thurlow, in his Speech for postponing the further reading of the Sur- 
geon's Incorporation Bill, July 17th, 1797, to that Day three Months, in the 
House of Peers, stated " that by a Statute still in force, the Barbers and Sur- 
geons were each to use a Pole. The Barbers were to have theirs blue and 
white, striped, with no other appendage ; but the Surgeons, which was the 

Mr. Steevens adds : it was formerly part of a barber's occupation to pick the Teeth and Ears. So, 
in the old Play of Herod and Antipater, 1GVZ. Tiyphon the barber enters with a case of instru- 
ments, to each of which he addresses himself separately : 

" Toothpick, clefcr tooth-pick : car-pick, both of you 
Have been her sweet Companions !" c. 

See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 1803. vol. vi. p. 403. 

The following is an Extract from the "World of Wonders," fol. bond. 1607- p. 125. speaking of 
the " grosse Ignorance" of the Barbers, the author says : " This puts me in minde of a Barber who 
after he had cupped me (as the Physitian had prescribed) to turne away a Catarrhe, asked me if I 
would be sacrificed. Sacrificed said I ? did the Phibition tell you any such thing ? No (quoth he) 
but I have sacrificed many, who have bene the better for it. Then musing a little with myselfe I 
told him, surely, Sir, you mistake yourself, you meane scarified. O Sir, by your favour, (quoth he) 
I have ever heard it called Sacrificing, and as for scarifying I never heard of it before. In a word 
I could by no means perswade him, but that it was the Barber's Office to sacrifice Men. Since 
wliich time I never saw any Man in a Barber's hands, but that sacrificing Barber came to my 


same in other respects, was likewise to have a Galley-pot and a red Rag, to de- 
note the particular nature of their Vocation." 

Gay, in his Fable of the Goat without a Beard, thus describes a Barber's shop : 

" His Pole with pewter Basons hung, 
Black rotten Teeth in ordtr strung, 
Rang'd Cups, that in the Window stood, 
Lin'd with red Hags to look like blood, 
Did we'll his threefold Trade explain, 
Who shav'd, drew Teeth, and breath'd a Vein." 


A FOREIGN Weed, which has made so many Englishmen, especially of 
the common sort, become its slaves, must not be omitted in our Catalogue of 
Popular Antiquities. It is said to have been first brought into England by 
Captain R. Greenfield and Sir Francis Drake about the year Io86, during the 
reign of Elizabeth. 

A pleasant kind of Tale, but for one item of the veracity of which I will not 
vouch, is given in the Athenian Oracle by way of accounting for the frequent use 
and continuance of taking it. " When the Christians first discovered America, 
the Devil was afraid of losing his hold of the people there by the appearance of , 
Christianity. He is reported to have told some Indians of his acquaintance that 
he had found a way to be revenged upon the Christians for beating up his 
quarters, for he would teach them to take Tobacco, to which, when they had once 
tasted it, they should become perpetual Slaves." 

Ale-Houses are at present licensed to deal in Tobacco : but it was not so from 
the beginning; for so great an incentive was it thought to drunkenness, that it 
was strictly forbidden to be taken in any Ale-house in the time of James the 


There is a curious Collection of Proclamations, Prints, &c. in the Archives of 
the Society of Antiquaries of London. In vol. viii. lettered on the back " Mis- 
eel. K. James I." is an Ale-house Licence granted by six Kentish Justices of 
the Peace, at the bottom of which the following Item occurs, among other Direc- 
tions to the Inn-holder : 

" Item, you shall not utter, nor willingly suffer to be utter'd, drunke, or taken, 
any Tobacco within your House, Celler, or other place thereunto belonging." 

The following ironical Encomium on, and serious Invective against Tobacco 
occurs in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 4to. Oxford, 1621. pag. 452. "To- 
bacco, divine, rare, super excellent Tobacco, which goes farre beyond all their 
Panaceas, potable Gold, and Philosophers Stones, a sovereign Remedy to all 
diseases. A good Vomit, I confesse, a vertuous Herbe, if it be well qualified, 
opportunely taken, and medicinally used, but as it is commonly used by most 
men, which take it as Tinkers do Ale, 'tis a plague, a mischiefe, a violent purger 
of goods, lands, health, hellish devilish and damnd Tobacco, the ruine and over- 
throw of Body and Soule." 

In the Apophthegms of King James, &c. 12mo. Lond. 1658. p. 4. I read as 
follows : " His Majesty professed that were he to invite the Devil to a dinner, 
he should have these three Dishes : 1 . a Pig ; 2. a poll of Ling and Mustard ; and 
3. a Pipe of Tobacco for digesture." 

The following quaint Thought is found in an old Collection of Epigrams : 

"121. A Tobacconist. 

All dainty Meats I do defie, 

Which feed Men fat as Swine : 
He is a frugal Mau indeed 

That on a Leaf can dine. 
He needs no Napkin for his hands 

His fingers ends to wipe, 
That keeps his Kitchen in a Box, 

And roast Meat in a Pipe." 

In the Hymnus Tabaci by Raphael Thorius, made English by Peter Hausted, 
Master of Arts, Camb. 8vo. Lond. 1651. we meet with the strongest Invective 
against Tobacco : 


" Let it be damu'tl to Hell, and call'd from thence, 
Proserpine's Wine, the Furies frankincense, 
The Devil's Addle Eggs, or else to these 
A sacrifice grim Pluto to appease, 
A deadly Weed, which its beginning had 
From the foam of Cerberus, when the Cur was mad." 

Our British Solomon, James the first, who was a great opponent of the Devil, 
and even wrote a Book against Witchcraft, made a formidable attack also upon 
this " Invention of Satan," in a learned Performance, which he called a " Coun- 
terblaste to Tobacco a ." It is printed in the Edition of his Works by Barker and 
Bill, London 1616. 

He concludes this bitter Blast b of his, his sulphureous Invective against this 
transmarine Weed, with the following Peroration : " Have you not reason then 

1 His Majesty in the course of his Work informs us, " that some of the Gentry of the Land be- 
stowed (at that time) three, some four hundred Pounds a Yeere upon this precious stink !" An in- 
credible Sum, especially when we consider the value of Money in his time. They could not surely 
have been Sterling, but Scottish pounds. 

The following extraordinary Account of a Buckinghamshire Parson who abandoned himself to 
the use of Tobacco, is worth quoting. It may be found in Lilly's History of his Life and Times, 
p. 44. 

" In this year also, William Breedon, parson or vicar of Thornton in Bucks, was living, a pro- 
found Divine, but absolutely the most polite Person for Nativities in that age, strictly adhering to 
Ptolemy, which he well understood; he had a Hand in composing Sir Christopher Heydon's De- 
fence of Judicial Astrology, being at that time his Chaplain; he was so given over to Tobacco and 
Drink, that when he had no Tobacco (and I suppose too much Drink) he would cut the Bell-Ropes 
and smoke them !" 

k How widely different the Strains of the subsequent Parody on the stile of Ambrose Phillips : 

" Little Tube of mighty Pow'r, 
Charmer of an idle Hour, 
Object of my warm Desire, 
Lip of Wax and Eye of Fire : 
And thy snowy taper Waist, 
With my finger gently brac'd ; 
And thy pretty swelling Crest, 
With my little Stopper prest," &c. 



to be ashamed and to forbear this filthy Novelty, so basely grounded, so fool- 
ishly received, and so grossly mistaken in the right use thereof! In your abuse 

The following is in imitation of Dr. Young : 

" Critics avaunt, Tobbaco is my Theme ; 

Tremble like Hornets at the blasting Steam. 

And you, Court-Insects, flutter not too near 

Its Light, nor buzz within the scorching Sphere. 

Pollio, with flame like thine, my Verse inspire, 

So shall the Muse from Smoke elicit Fire. 

Coxcombs prefer the tickling sting of Snuff ; 

Yet all their claim to Wisdom is a Puff. 

Lord Foplin smokes not for his Teeth afraid ; 

Sir Tawdiy smokes not for he wears Brocade. 

Ladies, when Pipes are brought, affect to swoon ; 

They love no Smoke, except the Smoke of Town ; 

But Courtiers hate the puffing Tribe no matter, 

Strange, if they love the Breath that cannot flatter ! 

Its foes but shew their Ignorance ; can he 

Who scorns the Leaf of Knowledge, love the Tree ? 

Yet Crouds remain, who still its Wortli proclaim, 

While some for pleasure smoke, and some for Fame : 

Fame, of our Actions universal Spring, 

For which we drink, eat, sleep, smoke ev'ry thing." 
Both these parodies were written by Hawkins Browne, Esq. 
In " The London Medley," Svo. 1731. p. 8. I find the following Panegyrick on Tobacco: 

" Hail, Indian Plant, to antient Times unknown, 
A modern truly thou, of all our own ; 
If through the Tube thy Virtues be convey'd, 
The old Man's Solace, and the Student's aid ! 
Thou dear Concomitant of Nappy Ale, 
Thou sweet prolonger of a harmless Tale ; 
Or if, when pulveriz'd in smart Rappee, 
Thou'lt reach Sir Fopling's Brain, if Brain there be; 
He shines in Dedications, Poems, Plays, 
Soars in Pindaricks, and asserts the Bays ; 
Thus dost thou every Taste and Genius hit, 
In Smoak,thou'Tt Wisdom ; and in Snuff, thou'rt Wit." 


thereof sinning against God, harming yourselves, both in persons and goods, and 
taking also thereby (look to it ye that take Snuff in profusion !) the Marks and 
Notes of Vanity upon you ; by the Custom thereof making yourselves to be won- 
dered at by all foreign civil Nations, and by all Strangers that come among you, 
to be scorned and contemned ; a Custom loathsome to the Eye, hateful to the 
Nose, harmful to the Brain, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the black stinking 
Fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian Smoke of the Pit that is 

If even this small specimen of our learned Monarch's Oratory, which seems 
well adapted to the understanding of old Women, does not prevail upon them 
all to break in pieces their Tobacco Pipes and forego Smoaking, it will perhaps 
be impossible to say what can. 

The subject, as his Majesty well observes, is Smoke, and no doubt many of his 
Readers will think the Arguments of our Royal Author no more than the Fumes 
of an idle Brain, and it may be added too, of an empty Head ! 




THE Custom of giving names to Wells and Fountains is of the most remote 
Antiquity. In giving particular names to inanimate things it is obviously the 
principal Intention to secure or distinguish the property of them. A Well was 
a most valuable Treasure in those dry and parched Countries, which composed 
the Scene of the Patriarchal History, and therefore we find in one of the ear- 
liest of Writings, the Book of Genesis, that it was a frequent subject of con- 

11 See Genesis, xxi. 31. also xxvi. 


In the Papal Times there was a Custom in this Country, if a Well had aa 
awful Situation, if its Waters were bright and clear, or if it was considered as 
having a medicinal Quality, to dedicate it to some Saint b , by honouring it with 

b Bourne, in his Antiquitates Vulgares, chap. viii. enumerates " St. John's, St. Mary Magdalen's, 
St. Mary's Well," &c. To these may be added many others. Thus, in " The Muses Threnodie," St. 
Conil's Well in Scotland. This Well, dedicated to St. Conwall, whose anniversary was celebrated 
on the 18th of May, is near to Ruthven Castle, or Hunting Tower. It is sufficient to serve the 
Town of Perth, with pure, wholesome water, if it were brought down by pipes. In the days of 
Superstition this Well was much resorted to." p. 175. note. 

In the Travels of Tom Thumb, p. 35. we read : " A Man would be inexcusable that should come 
into North Wales and not visit Holywell or St. Winifride's Well, and hear attentively all the Stories 
that are told about it. It is indeed a natural wonder, though we believe nothing of the Virgin 
and her rape : for I never felt a colder Spring nor saw any one that affords such a quantity of 
water. It forms alone a considerable Brook which is immediately able to drive a Mill." 

Mr. Pennant, in his Account of this Well says, " After the death of that Saint, the waters were 
almost as sanative as those of the Pool of Bethesda : all Infirmities incident to the human body met 
with relief: the votive Crutches, the Barrows, and other Proofs of Cures, to this moment remain 
as evidences pendent over the Well. The Resort of Pilgrims of late Years to these Fontinalia has 
considerably decreased. In the Summer, still, a few are to be seen in the water in deep devotion 
up to their Chins for hours, sending up their prayers or performing a number of Evolutions 
round the polygonal Well, or threading the Arch between Well and Well a prescribed number of 

In the History of Whiteford parish, p. 223. he adds, "The bathing Well is an oblong, 38 feet by 
16, with steps for the descent of the fair sex, or of invalids. Near the steps, two feet beneath the 
water, is a large stone, called the Wishing-stone. It receives many a Kiss from the faithful, who 
are supposed never to fail in experiencing the completion of their Desires, provided the wish is de- 
livered with full Devotion and Confidence. 

" On the outside of the great Well, close to the road, is a small spring, once famed for the cure 
of Weak Eyes. The patient made an offering to the Nymph of the Spring, of a crooked pin, and 
sent up at the same time a certain Ejaculation, by way of Charm : but the Charm is forgotten, 
a nd the efficacy of the Waters lost. The Well is common." 

Lilly, in the History of his Life and Times, p. 32. relates that in 1635, Sir George Peckham.Knt. 
died in St. Winifred's Well, " having continued so long mumbling his Pater Nosters and Sancta 
Winifreda ora pro me, that the Cold struck into his Body, and after his coming forth, of that Well 
he never spoke more*." 

* [An Account of a Miracle pretended te have been recently wrought at this Well will be found in a P.imph- 


his name 6 . 

Fitzstephen, Monk of Canterbury, in his Description of the antient City of 
London, has the following passage on this subject. " There are on the North 
part of London, principal Fountains of Water, sweet, wholesome, and clear, 

For a notice of St. Cuthbert's Well at Eden Hall in Cumberland see the Account of FAIRIES. 
In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xv. (8vo. Edinb. 1795.) p. 613. Avoch parish, County 
of Ross, we read, of " a Well called Craiguck, issuing from a Rock near the shore of Bennetsficld 
resorted to in the Month of May by whimsical or superstitious persons, who, after drinking, com- 
monly leave some threads or rags tied to a Bush in the neighbourhood." 

c Bourne's Antiq.VuIa;. ut supra. I found on a visit to the Source of the New River between Hert- 
ford and Ware, in August 1793, an old stone inscribed ' Chadwell,' a corruption, no doubt, of St. 
Chad's Well. So copious a Spring could not fail of attracting the notice of the Inhabitants in the 
earliest times, who accordingly dedicated it to St. Chad, never once dreaming perhaps that in suc- 
ceeding Ages it should be converted to so beneficial a purpose as to supply more than half the Capi- 
tal of England, with one of the most indispensible necessaries of human Life. 

In the Antiquities of Heathen Rome, Fontinalia was a religious Feast, celebrated on the 13th of 
October, in honour of the Nymphs of Wells and Fountains. The ceremony consisted in throwing 
Nosegays into the Fountains, and putting Crowns of Flowers upon the Wells. 

Alexander Ross, in his Appendix to the Arcana Microcosm!, p. 220. tells us that " Camerariu-:, 
out of Dietmarus and Erasmus Stella, writes of a certain Fountain near the river Albis or Elbe in 
Germany, which presageth wars by turning red and bloody coloured, of another which portend- 
eth death, if the water which before was limpid, becomes troubled and thick, so caused by an un- 
known Worm." This brings to my remembrance a superstitious notion I have heard of in North- 
umberland, that when the Earl of Derwentwater was beheaded, the Brook that runs past his seat 
at Dilston Hall, flowed with blood. 

Concerning Fountain Superstitions, see the Authorities quoted by Ihre in his Gloss. Suio-Goth. 
torn. i. p. 1042. v. oFFEKjELLA. See also Lindebrogii Codex Legum Antiquorum, p. 1402. and 
Hea'rne's Pref. to Rob. Glouc. p. 47. 

Dallaway, in his " Constantinople Antient and Modern," 4to. Lond. 1797. p. 144. speaking of 
the Bosphorus, tells us : " Frequent Fountains are seen on the Shore, of the purest water, to which 
is attached one of the strongest and most antient Superstitions of the Greek Church. They are cal- 
led " ayasnik," and to repeat certain Prayers at stated Seasons, and to drink deeply of them, is held to 
be a most salutary act of their Religion." 

let entitled " Authentic Documents relative to the miraculous Cure of Winefrid White, of Wolverhampton, 
at St. Wincfrid's Well, alias Holywell, in Flintshire, on the 28th of June 1805: with Observations thereon, by 
the R. R. J M D.D. V.A. F.S.A. Lend, and f. Acad. Rome," 3d edit. 8vo. Lond. 1806 ] 


streaming from among the glistering pebble stones. In this number Holy Well, 
Clerkenwell, and St. Clement's Well, are of most note, and frequented above 
the rest, when Scholars and the Youth of the City take the air abroad in the 
Summer evenings' 1 ." 

d Slew's Survey of London, edit. 1633. p. 710. 

Our British Topography abounds with accounts of Holy Wells, or such as had assigned them, by 
antient superstition, most extraordinary, properties. These ideas, so far from being worn out in 
this enlightened age, are still retained by the vulgar, not only in the distant provinces, but also 
close to the metropolis itself. Thus we read in the Account of Tottenham High Cross in "The 
Ambulator," 4th edit. 1790. " In a brick field, on the West side of the great road, belonging to 
Mr. Charles Saunders, is St. Ley's Well, which is said to be always full, and never to run over ; 
and in a field, opposite the Vicarage House, rises a Spring called ' Bishop's Well,' of which the 
common people report many strange Cures." The following account borders more closely upon 
the marvellous and incredible : " In Northamptonshire 1 observed, as in most other places, the 
superstition of the Country People with regard to their local wonders. The Well at Ounclle is said 
to drum against any important event ; yet no body in the place could give me a rational account 
of their having heard it, though almost every one believes the truth of the Tradition." Travels of 
T. Thumb, p. 174 *. 

Borlase, in his Natural History of Cornwall, p. 31- speaking of Madern Well, in the parish of 
Modern, tells us : " Here people who labour under pains, aches, and stiffness of limbs, come and 
wash, and many cures are said to have been performed. Hither also, upon much less justifiable 
errands, come the uneasy, impatient, and superstitious, and by dropping pins or pebbles into the 
water, and by shaking the ground round the Spring, so as to raise bubbles from the bottom, at a 
certain time of the Year, Moon, and Day, endeavour to settle such doubts and enquiries as will not 
let the idle and anxious rest. As great a piece of folly as this is, 'tis a very antient one. The Cas- 
talian Fountain, and many others among the Grecians, were supposed to be of a prophetic nature. 
By dipping a fair mirror into a Well, the Patraeans of Greece received, as they supposed, some 
notice of ensuing sickness or health, from the various figures pourtrayed upon the surface. In 
Laconia they cast into a Pool, sacred to Juno, Cakes of bread-corn ; if they sunk, good was por- 
tended; if they swam, something dreadful was to ensue. Sometimes they threw three Stones into 
the writer, and formed their conclusions from the several turns they made in sinking." He men- 

* Baxter, in his World of Spirits, p. 157. says: "When I was a School-boy at Oundle, in Northamptonshire, 
about the Scots coming into England, I heard a Well, in one Dob's Yard, drum like any Drum beating a 
March. I heard it at a distance : then I went and put my head into the mouth of the Well and heard it dis- 
tinctly, and nobody in the Well. It lasted several days and nights, so as all the Country People came to hear it. 
And BO it drummed on several Changes of Times. When King Charles the second died, I went to the Oundle 
Carrier at the Ram Inn in Smithfield, who told me their Well had drumm'd, and many people came to hear it. 
And I heard, it drumm'd once since." 


We find the superstitious Adoration of Fountains, a not unpleasing species 
of Idolatry in sultry weather, is forbidden so early as in the sixteenth of the 

lions, in the same page, another such Well ; St. Eunys, in the parish of Sancred. Here he happened 
to be upon the last day of the year, on which, (according to the vulgar opinion,) it exerts its 
principal and most salutary powers : though two Women assured him that people who had a 
mind to receive any benefit from St. Euny's Well, must come and wash upon the three first 
Wednesdays in May." 

In the Account of Walsingham Chapel, Norfolk, in Moore's Monastic Remains, I find the fol- 
lowing : "The Wishing Wells still remain two circular Stone Pits filled with water, inclosed 
with a square wall, where the Pilgrims used to kneel and throw in a piece of Gold, whilst they 
prayed for the accomplishment of their wishes." 

Hasted, in his History of Kent, vol. iii. p. 176. tells us that, " at Withersden is a Well, which 
was once famous, being called St. Eustace's Well, taking its name from Eustachius, Abbot of Mai, 
who is mentioned by Matt. Paris, p. 169. An. 120O. to have been a man of learning and sanctity, 
and to have come and preached at Wye, and to have blessed a Fountain there, so that afterwards 
its waters were endowed, by such miraculous power, that by it all diseases were cured." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vi. p. 349. Ordiquhill, Banffshire, we read : the 
Mineral Well " dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was, formerly, at certain seasons, much resorted to 
by the superstitious as well as the sick." 

Ibid. p. 381. Parish of Little Dunkeld, Perthshire : " Here there are a Fountain and the ruins 
of a Chapel, both dedicated by antient superstition to St. Laurence." 

Ibid. p. 431. " Near Tarbat, (Synod of Ross,) there is a plentiful Spring of water, which conti- 
nues to bear the name of Tobair Mhuir, or Mary's Well." 

In the same work, vol. viii. p. 351. Glenorchay and Inishail, Argylcshire, we are told: " Near 
the parish school is the Well of St. Connan," the tutelar Saint of the Country, " memorable for the 
lightness and salubrity of its water." 

Ibid. vol. xii. (8vo. Edinb. 1/94.) p. 464. Parish of Kirkmichael in the County of Banff', it is said : 
" Near the Kirk of this Parish there is a Fountain, once highly celebrated, and antiently dedicated 
to St. Michael. Many a patient have its waters restored to health, and many more have attested the 
efficacy of their virtues. But, as the presiding power is sometimes capricious, and apt to desert 
his charge, it now lies neglected, choked with weeds, unhonourcd and unfrequented. In better 
days it was not so; for the winged Guardian, under the semblance of a Fly, was never absent 
from his duty. If the sober Matron wished to know the issue of her Husband's ailment,, or the 
love-sick Nymph that of her languishing Swain, they visited the Well of St. Michael. Every 
movement of the sympathetic Fly was regarded in silent awe ; and as he appeared cheerful or de- 
jected, the anxious votaries drew their presages ; their breasts vibrated with correspondent emo- 
tions. Like the Delai Lama of Thibet, or the King of Great Britain, whom a fiction of the English 
Law supposes never to die, the Guardian Fly of the Well of St. Michael was believed to be exempted 


Canons made in the reign of King Edgar, A. D. 960 e : as also in the Canons of 
St. Anselm made in the year of Christ 1 102 f . 

from the laws of Mortality. To the eye of Ignorance he might sometimes appear dead, but agreeably 
to the Druidic system, it was only a Transmigration into a similar form, which made little alteration 
on the real identity." " Not later than a fortnight ago," (it is added) " the Writer of this Account was 
much entertained to hear an old Man lamenting with regret the degeneracy of the Times ; parti- 
cularly the contempt in which objects of former veneration were held by the unthinking crowd. 
If the infirmities of years, and the distance of his residence did not prevent him, he would still 
pay his devotional visits to the Well of St. Michael. He would clear the bed of its ouze, open a 
passage for the streamlet, plant the borders with fragrant Flowers, and once more, as in the days 
of youth, enjoy the pleasure of seeing the Guardian Fly skim in sportive circles over the bubbling 
wave, and with its little proboscis imbibe the panacean dews." 

Ibid. vol. xvi. p. 9. Parish of Inveresk, County of Mid-Lothian, " A Routing Well (so called 
from a rumbling noise it makes) is said always to predict a Storm." 

Ibid. vol. xviii. (8vo. Edinb. 1796.) p. 487- Parish of Trinity Cask, Perthshire: " The most 
noted Well in the parish is at Trinity Cask. It is remarkable for the purity and lightness of its 
water; the Spring is copious and perennial. Superstition, aided by the interested artifices of 
Popish Priests, raised, in times of ignorance and bigotry, this Well to no small degree of cele- 
brity. It was affirmed, that every person who was baptized with the water of this Well, would 
never be seized with the Plague. The extraordinary virtue of Trinity Cask Well has perished with 
the downfall of Superstition." 

' Johnson's Collection of Eccl. Laws, Canons, &c. sub an. DCCCCLX. 16. "That every Priest 
industriously advance Christianity, and extinguish Heathenism, and forbid the Worship of Foun- 
tains, and Necromancy, and Auguries," &c. 

f Ibid. A. D. MCI I. can. 26. " Let no one attribute Reverence or Sanctity to a dead body, or a 
Fountain, or other thing (as it sometimes is, to our knowledge,) without the Bishop's authority." 

There are Interdictions of this Superstition in the Laws of King Canute also preserved, in Whe- 
loc's edition of Lombard's Archaionomia, fol. Cantab. 1644. p. 108. paebenrcyjie bi'S man 
ibola people op}:e plobpaetep .pyllar. o]>pe j-eanar. &c. 

In a curious MS Account of the Customs in North Wales, sent me by Mr. Pennant, which has 
been already very frequently quoted in the course of this Work, I find the following passage : " If 
there be a Fynnon Vair, Well of our Lady or other Saint in the parish, the water that is used for 
Baptism in the Font is fetched thence. Old Women are very fond of washing their Eyes with the 
water after Baptism." 

Mr. Pennant, in his Tour in Wales, vol. i. p. 405. speaking of the Village of Llandegla, where 
is a Church dedicated to St. Tecla, Virgin and Martyr, who, after her conversion by St. Paul, 
suffered under Nero, at Iconium, says : " About two hundred yards from the Church, in a Quillet 
called Gwern Degla, rises a small Spring. The water is under the Tutelage of the Saint, and to 


This. Superstition appears to have been very prevalent in this Island till the 
age before the Reformation, and is not even yet entirely extinguished among 
the Roman Catholics and the common people s. 

this day held to be extremely beneficial in the falling sickness. The patient washes his limbs in 
the Well j makes an offering into it of Four-pence; walks round it three tunes ; and thrice repeats 
the Lord's Prayer. These ceremonies are never begun till after sun-set, in order to inspire the 
votaries with greater awe. If the afflicted be of the male sex, like Socrates, he makes an offering 
of a Cock to his yEsculapius, or rather to Tecla Hygeia ; if of the fair sex, a Hen. The fowl is 
carried in a basket, first round the Well ; after that into the Church-yard ; when the same orisons 
and the same circum-ambulations are performed round the Church. The Votary then enters the 
Church; gets under the Communion Table; lies down with the Bible under his or her head; it. 
covered with the Caipet or Cloth, and rests there till break of day ; departing after offering Six- 
pence, and leaving the Fowl in the Church. If the Bird dies, the cure is supposed to have been 
effected, and the disease transferred to the devoted victim." 

8 In some parts of the North of England it has been a custom for time immemorial, for the 
Lads and Lasses of the neighbouring Villages to collect together at Springs or Rivers on some 
Sunday in May, to drink Sugar and Water, where the Lasses give the treat ; this is called Sugar 
and Water Sunday. They afterwards adjourn to the public-house, and the Lads return the com- 
pliment in Cakes, Ale, Punch, &c. A vast concourse of both sexes assemble for the above purpose 
at the Giant's Cave, near Eden Hall, in Cumberland, on the third Sunday in May. See Gent. 
Mag. for 1791. vol. Ixi. p. 991. 

Hutchinson, in his History of Cumberland, vol. ii. p. 323. speaking of the Parish of Bromfield, 
and a Custom in the neighbourhood of Blencogo, tells us -. " On the common, to the East of that 
Village, not far from Ware-Brig, near a pretty large rock of Granite, called St. Cuthbert's Stane, 
is a fine copious Spring of remarkably pure and sweet water ; which (probably from its having 
been anciently dedicated to the same St. Cuthbert,) is called Helly-Well, \. e. Haly, or Holy Well. 
It formerly was the custom for the Youth of all the neighbouring Villages to assemble at this Well 
early in the afternoon of the second Sunday in May, and there to join in a variety of rural sports. 
It was the Village Wake, and took place here, it is possible, when the keeping of Wakes and Fairs 
in the Church-Yard was discontinued. And it differed from the Wakes of later times chiefly in 
this, that though it was a meeting entirely devoted to festivity and mirth, no strong drink of any 
' kind was ever seen there ; nor any thing ever drank, but the beverage furnished by the Naiad of the 
place. A Curate of the parish, about twenty years ago, on the idea that it was a profanation of 
the Sabbath, saw fit to set his face against it ; and having, deservedly, great influence in the 
parish, the meetings at Helly-Well have ever since been discontinued." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vii. 8vo. Edinb. 1793. p. 213. Parish of Nigg, 
County of Kincardine, we read : " Customs. In the month of May, many of the lower ranks 
from around the adjacent City (Aberdeen) come to drink of a Well in the Bay of Nigg, called 


Various Rites appear to have been performed on Holy Thursday at Wells, in 
different parts of the kingdom : such as decorating them with Boughs of Trees, 
Garlands of Tulips, and other Flowers, placed in various fancied devices. 

Downy Well ; and proceeding a little farther, go over a narrow pass, The Brigge of ae Hair, 
(Bridge of one Hair,) to Downy-Hill, a green island in the sea, where young people cut their 
favourites' names in the sward. It seems to be the remains of some superstitious respect to the 
Fountain and Retreat of a reputed Saint, gone into an innocent amusement." 

Ibid. vol. xii. p. 463. Parish of Kirkmichael, Banffshire, we read: "The same credulity that 
gives air-formed Inhabitants to green Hillocks and solitary Groves, has given their portion of 
Genii to Rivers and Fountains. The presiding Spirit of that element, in Celtic Mythology, was 
called Neithe. The primitive of this word signifies to wash or purify with water. To this day 
Fountains are regarded with particular veneration over every part of the Highlands. The sick, 
who resort to them for health, address their vows to the presiding powers, and offer presents to 
conciliate their favour. These presents generally consist of a small piece of Money, or a few fra- 
grant Flowers. The same reverence, in ancient times, seems to have been entertained for Foun- 
tains by every people in Europe. The Romans, who extended their worship to almost every object 
in Nature, did not forget in their ritual the homage due to Fountains." Consult Horace in his 
address to the fountain of Blandusia. " The vulgar in many parts of the Highlands, even at pre- 
sent," (says a Note,) " not only pay a sacred Regard to particular Fountains, but are firmly per- 
suaded that certain Lakes are inhabited by Spirits. In Strathspey there is a Lake called Loch-nan 
Spioradan, the Lake of Spirits." Two, frequently make their appearance the Horse, and the 
Bull of the Water. The Mermaid is another. " Before the Rivers are swelled by heavy rains, she 
is frequently seen, and is always considered as a sure prognostication of drowning. In Celtic My- 
thology, to the above-named is a fourth Spirit added. When the waters are agitated by a violent 
current of wind, and streams are swept from their surface and driven before the blast, or whirled 
in circling eddies aloft in the air, the vulgar, to this day, consider this phenomenon as the effect 
of the angry Spirit operating upon that element. They call it by a very expressive name, the 
Mariach shine, or the Rider of the Storm." 

In the same volume, p. 173. Parish of St. Vigeans, co. of Caithness, we are told : " A Tradi- 
tion had long prevailed here, that the Water-Kelpy (called in Hume's Douglas the angiy Spirit 
of the Water,) carried the Stones for building the Church, under the fabrick of which there was 
a Lake of great depth." 

Very antiently a species of Hydromancy appears to have been practised at Wells. " The Druids," 
says Borlase, " (as we have great reason to think) pretended to predict future events, not only 
from Holy Wells and running Streams, but from the Rain and Snow Water, which, when settled, 
and afterwards stirr'd either by Oak-leaf, or Branch, or Magic Wand, might exhibit appearances 
of great information to the quick-sighted Druid, or seem so to do to the credulous enquirer, when 
the Priest was at full liberty to represent the appearances as he thought most for his purpose." 
Antiquities of Cornwall, p. 137. 


In some places indeed it was the custom, after Prayers for the Day at the 
Church, for the Clergyman add Singers even to pray and sing Psalms at the 
Wells h . 

The leaving of Rags at Wells was a singular species of popular superstition '. 

h At the Village of Tissington, in the county of Derby, a place remarkable for fine springs of 
water, it has been the custom time immemorial. See Gent. Mag. for Feb. 1794. vol. Ixiv. p. 115. 

Another writer, Ibid. March 1794. p. 226. says: " The same custom was observed of late years, 
if not at the present time, at Brewood and Bilbrook, two places in the County of Stafford." 

Dr. Plott, in his History of Staffordshire, p. 318. tells us : " They have a custom in this County, 
which I observed on Holy Thursday at Brewood and Bilbrook, of adorning their Wells with 
boughs and flowers. This, it seems, they doe too at all Gospell-places, whether Wells, Trees, o- 
Hills : which being now observed only for decency and custom sake, is innocent enough. Here- 
tofore too, it was usual to pay this respect to such Wells as were eminent for cureing distempers, 
on the Saint's Day whose name the Well bore, diverting themselves with Cakes and Ale, and a 
little Musick and Dancing; which, whilst within these bounds, was also an innocent recreation. 
But whenever they began to place Sanctity in them, to bring Alms and Offerings, or make Vows 
at them, as the antient Germans and Britons did, and the Saxons and English were too much in- 
clined to, for which St. Edmund's Well without Saint Clements near Oxford, and St. Laurence's 
at Peterborough, were famous heretofore : I doe not find but they were forbid in those times, as 
well as now, this superstitious devotion being called Ulilpeop^unja, which Somner rightly trans- 
lates Well-worship, and was strictly prohibited by our Anglican Councils as long agoe as King 
Edgar; and in the reign of Canutus ; not long after again in a Council at London under S. 
Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, A. D. 1102. as it was also particularly at these two Wells near 
Oxford and Peterborough, by Oliver Sutton, Bishop of Lincoln." 

Deering, in his History of Nottingham, p. 125. says, " by a Custom time beyond memory, the 
Mayor and Aldermen of Nottingham and their Wives have been used on Monday in Easter Week, 
Morning Prayers ended, to march from the Town to St. Anne's Well, having the Town Waits to 
play before them, and attended by all the Clothing and their Wives, i. e. such as have been Sheriff*, 
and ever after wear scarlet gowns, together with the Officers of the Town, and many other Bur- 
gesses and Gentlemen," &c. 

1 Grose, from a MS. in the Cotton Library marked Julius F. 6. tells us: " Between the Towns 
of Alten and Newton, near the foot of Rosberrye Toppinge, there is a Well dedicated to St. 
Oswald. The neighbours have an opinion that a Shirt or Shift taken off a sick person and thrown 
into that Well, will shew whether the person will recover or die : for, if it floated, it denoted the 
recovery of the party; if it sunk, there remained no hope of their life : and to reward the Saint 
for his intelligence, they tear off' a Rag of the Shirt, and leave it hanging on the Briars thereabouts; 
where," says the writer, " I have seen such numbers as might have made afayre Rheme in a Paper 


Bishop Hall, in his Triumphs of Rome, ridicules a superstitious Prayer of the 
Popish Church for the blessing of Clouts in the way of cure of Diseases." 
Can it have originated thence? This absurd custom is not extinct even at 

Mr. Pennant tells us, " They visit the Well of Spey, in Scotland, for many Distempers, aud the 
Well of Drachaldy for as many, offering small pieces of Money and Bits of Rags." Pennant's 
Additions, p. 18. 

In Heron's Journey through part of Scotland, vol. i. p. 282. speaking of the River Fillan in the 
Vale of Strathfillan, he says, " In this River is a Pool consecrated by the antient superstition of the 
inhabitants of this Country. The Pool is formed by the eddying of the stream round a rock. Its 
waves were many years since consecrated by Fillan, one of the Saints who converted the antient In- 
habitants of Caledonia from Paganism to the belief of Christianity. It has ever since been distin- 
guished by his name, and esteemed of sovereign virtue in curing Madness. About two hundred 
persons afflicted in this way are annually brought to try the benefits of its salutary influence. These 
patients are conducted by their friends, who first perform the ceremony of passing with them 
thrice through a neighbouring Cairn ; on this Cairn they then deposit a simple offering of Clothes, 
or perhaps of a small bunch of Heath. More precious offerings used once to be brought. The 
patient is then thrice immerged in the sacred Pool. After the immersion, he is bound hand and 
foot, and left for the night in a Chapel which stands near. If the Maniac is found loose in the morn- 
ing, good hopes are conceived of his fall recovery. If he is still bound, his cure remains doubt- 
ful. It sometimes happens that death relieves him, during his confinement, from the troubles 
of life." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xiii. p. 76. Parish of Kenethmont, Aberdeenshire, 
<>-e read : " A Spring in the Moss of Melshach, of the chalybeate kind, is still in great reputation 
among the common people. Its sanative qualities extend even to Brutes. As this Spring proba- 
bly obtained vogue at first in days of ignorance and superstition, it would appear that it became 
customary to leave at the Well part of the Clothes of the sick and diseased, and Harness of the 
Cattle, as an offering of gratitude to the divinity who bestowed healing virtues on its waters. 
And now, even though the superstitious principle no longer exists, the accustomed offerings are 
still presented." 

Macaulay, in his History of St. Kilda, p. 95. speaking of a consecrated Well in that island called 
Tobirnimbuadh, or the Spring of diverse virtues, says, that " near the Fountain stood an Altar, 
on which the distressed Votaries laid down their oblations. Before they could touch sacred water 
with any prospect of success, it was their constant practice to address the Genius of the place 
with supplication and prayers. No one approached him with empty hands. But the Devotees 
were abundantly frugal. The offerings presented by them were the poorest acknowledgements that 
could be made to a superior Being, from whom they had either hopes or fears. Shells and Peb- 
bles, Rags of Linen or Stuffs worn out, Pins, Needles, or rusty Nails, were generally all the tribute 
that was paid; and sometimes, though rarely enough, copper Coins of the smallest value. 


this day : I have formerly frequently observed Shreds or Bits of Rag upon the 
Bushes that overhang a Well in the road to Benton, a Village in the vicinity of 
Newcastle upon Tyne, which, from that circumstance is now or was very lately 

Among the Heathens of Italy and other Countries, every choice Fountain was consecrated, and 
Sacrifices were offered to them, as well as to the Deities that presided over them. See Ovid's 

Fasti. Lib. iii. 300. 

' Fonti rex Numa mactat ovcm.' 

" Horace, in one of his Odes, made a solemn promise that he would make a present of a very 
fine Kid, some sweet Wine, and Flowers, to a noble Fountain in his own Sabine Villa." 

Brand, in his Description of Orkney, p. 58. speaking of St. Tredwell's Loch, says, " It is held 
by the people as medicinal; whereupon many diseased and infirm persons resort to it, some say- 
ing that thereby they have got good." " Yet I hear that when they have done all that is usual for 
them to do; as going about the Loch, washing their bodies or any part thereof, leaving some- 
thing at the Loch, as old Clouts and the like, &c. it is but in few in whom the effect of healing is 
produced. As for this Loch's appearing like blood, before any disaster befal the Royal Family, as 
some do report, we could find no ground to believe any such thing." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xviii. p. 630. Parish of Mary-Kirk, co. of Kincardine, 
we read : " There is at Balmano a fine Spring- Well, called St. John's Well, which in antient times 
was held in great estimation. Numbers, who thought its waters of a sanative quality, brought 
their rickety Children to be washed in its stream. Its water was likewise thought a sovereign remedy 
for sore Eyes, which, by frequent washing, was supposed to cure them. To shew their gratitude to 
the Saint, and that he might be propitious to continue the virtues of the waters, they put into the 
Well presents, not indeed of any great value, or such as would have been of the least service to him, 
if he had stood in need of money, but such as they conceived the good and merciful Apostle, who did 
not delight in costly Oblations, could not fail to accept. The presents generally given were Pins, 
Needles, and Rags taken from their Cloaths. This may point out the superstition of those times." 
Uiing Rags as Charms, it seems, was not confined to England or Europe, for I read the follow- 
ing passage in Hanway's Travels into Persia, vol. i. p. 1/7. " After ten days' journey we arrived 
at a desolate Caravanserai, where we found nothing but water. I observed a Tree with a number 
of Rags tied to the branches : these were so many Charms, which passengers, coming from Ghilan, 
a province remarkable for Agues, had left there, in a fond expectation of leaving their disease 
also on the same spot." 

Park, in his Travels in the Interior of Africa, has the following passage : " The Company ad- 
vanced as far as a large Tree, called by the Natives Neema Taba. It had a very singular appear- 
ance, being covered with innumerable Rags or scraps of Cloth, which persons travelling across the 
Wilderness had at different times tied to its branches : a custom so generally followed, that no 
one passes it without hanging up something." Mr. Park followed the example, and suspended a 
handsome piece of Cloth on one of the boughs. 


called The Rag-Well. This name is undoubtedly of long standing: probably 
it has been visited for some disease or other, and these Rag-offerings are the 
reliques of the then prevailing popular superstition k . It is not far from another 
Holy Spring at Jesmond, at the distance of about a mile from Newcastle. Pil- 
grimages to this Well and Chapel at Jesmond were so frequent, that one of the 
principal Streets of the great commercial Town aforesaid is supposed to have 
had its name partly from having an Inn in it, to which the Pilgrims that flocked 
thither for the benefit of the supposed Holy Water used to resort 1 . See my His- 

k Martin, in his History of the Western Islands of Scotland, speaking of the Isle of Lewis, says, 
that " St. Andrew's Well, in the Village of Shadar, is by the vulgar natives made a test to know 
if a sick person will die of the distemper he labours under. They send one with a wooden dish, 
to bring some of the water to the patient, and if the dish, which is then laid softly upon the sur- 
face of the water, turn round sun-ways, they conclude that the patient will recover of that dis- 
temper ; but if otherwise, that he will die." p. 7. 

" About a mile to the West of .1 arrow, (near Newcastle upon Tyne,) there is a Well still called 
Bede's Well, to which as late as the year 1740, it was a prevailing custom to bring Children trou- 
bled with any disease or infirmity ; a crooked Pin was put in, and the Well laved dry between each 
dipping. My informant has seen twenty Children brought together on a Sunday, to be dipped in 
this Well, at which also, on Midsummer Eve, there was a great resort of neighbouring people, 
with bonfires, musick, &c." Brand's History of Newcastle upon Tyne, vol. ii. p. 54. 

Collinson, in his History of Somersetshire, vol. iii. p. 104. mentions a Well in the Parish of 
Wembdon, called St. John's Well, to which in 1464 " an immense concourse of people resorted : 
and that many who had for years laboured under various bodily diseases, and had found no bene- 
fit from physick and physicians, were, by the use of these waters (after paying their due offerings,) 
restored to their pristine health." 

1 Mr. Shaw, in his History of the Province of Moray, tells us "that true rational Christian 
knowledge, which was almost quite lost under Popery, made very slow progress after the Re- 
formation. That the prevailing ignorance was attended with much superstition and credulity ; 
heathenish and Romish Customs were much practised : Pilgrimages to Wells and Chapels were 
frequent," &c. 

Martin, ut supra, p. 140. observes, " Loch-siant Well in Skie is much frequented by strangers 
as well as by the inhabitants of the Isle, who generally believe it to be a specifick for several 
diseases; such as Stitches, Head-aches, Stone, Consumptions, Megrim. Several of the common 
people oblige themselves by a vow to come to this Well and make the ordinary tour about it, called 
Dessil, which is performed thus : They move thrice round the Well, proceeding Sun-ways, from 
East to West, and so on. This is done after drinking of the water; and when one goes away from 
Ihe Well, it's a never-failing custom to leave some small Offering on the Stone which coveis 


tory of Newcastle upon Tyne m . 

The Custom of affixing Ladles of Iron, &c. by a Chain, to Wells, is of great 
antiquity. Mr. Strutt, in his Anglo-Saxon ./Era, tells us, that Edwine caused 
Ladles or Cups of Brass to be fastened to the clear Springs and Wells, for the 
refreshment of the passengers. Venerable Bede is his authority. The passage 
is as follows : " Tan'tum quoque Rex idem utilitati suas gentis consuluit, ut 

the Well. There is a small Coppice near it, of which none of the natives dare venture to cut 
the least branch, for fear of some signal judgement to follow upon it." 

Ibid. p. 242. He speaks of a Well of similar quality, at which, after drinking, they make a Tour 
and then leave an Offering of some small Token, such as a Pin, Needle, Farthing, or the like, on 
the Stone Cover which is above the Well. 

In " The Irish Hudibras," a burlesque of Virgil's Account of ^Eneas's Descent into Hell. Svo, 
Loncl. 1689. p. 119. we have the following allusion to the Irish visits to holy Wells on the 

Patron's Day : 

" Have you beheld, when people pray 

At St. John's Well* on Patron- Day, 
By charm of Priest and Miracle, 
To cure Diseases at this Well ; 
The Valley's fill'd with blind and lame. 
And go as limping as they came." 

81 Vol. i. p. 339. and Append, p. 622. " St. Mary's Well, in this Village, (Jesmond,) which is 
said to have had as many steps down to it as there are Articles in the Creed, was lately inclosed by 
Mr. Coulson for a bathing-place ; which was no sooner done than the water left it. This occa- 
sioned strange whispers in the Village and the adjacent places. The Well was always esteemed of 
more sanctity than common Wells, and therefore the failing of the water could be looked upon as 
nothing less than a just revenge for so great a profanation. But alas ! the miracle's at an end, 
for the water returned a while ago in as great abundance as ever." Thus far Bourne. 

Hasted, in his History of Kent, vol. iii. p. 333. speaking of Nailbourns, or temporary Land 
Springs, which are not unusual in Kent, in the parts Eastward of Sittingborne, says, that " their 
time of breaking forth, or continuance of running, is very uncertain ; but whenever they do 
break forth, it is held by the common people as the forerunner of scarcity and dearness of corn 
and victuals. Sometimes they break out for one, or perhaps two successive years, and at others, 
with two, three, or more years intervention, and their running continues sometimes only for a 
few months, and at others for three or four years." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. v. p. 185. The Minister of Unst in Shetland says: 
" A custom formerly prevailed for persons to throw three Stones, as a tribute to the source of the 

* In the North [of Ireland]. 


plerisque in locis ubi Fontes lucidos juxta publicos viarum transitus conspexit, 
ibi ob Refrigerium viantium erectis stipitibus et asreos Caucos suspendi juberet, 
neque hos quisquam nisi ad usum necessarium contingere prse magnitudine 
vel timoris ejus auderet, vel amoris vellet "." 

salubrious Waters, when they first approach a copious Spring, called Yelaburn, or Hiclaburn (the 
Burn of Health " in that neighbourhood.") A considerable pile has thus been raised. But the 
Reputation of the Spring begins to decline, and the superstitious offering is now no longer so 

Two presaging Fountains have been already noticed in a former page from Alexander Ross. In 
" The Living Librarie or Historical Meditations," fol. Lond. 1621. p. "284. the author gives us the 
following more minute account of them. " I have heard a Prince say, that there is in his Terri- 
tories a Fountaine that yeelds a Current of Water which runs continually; and ever when it de- 
creaseth, it presageth dearnesse of Victuals ; but when it groweth drie, it signifieth a dearth. 
There is a Fountaine in Glomutz, a Citie of Misnia, a league from the River Elbis, which of itselfe 
making a Pond, produceth oftentimes certaine strange effects, as the Inhabitants of the Country 
say, and many that have scene the same witnesse. When there v.'ua like to be a good and fruitful 
peace in all the places about, this Fountaine would appeare covered with Wheat, Oats and Akornes, 
to the great joy of the Countrey people that flock thether from al! parts to see the same. If any 
cruell War doe threaten the Countrey, the water is all thick with Blood and with Ashes, a certaine 
presage of miseric and mine to come. In old times the Vandals Sorabes came everie yeare in 
great troupes to this wonderfull Fountaine, where they sacrificed to their Idols and enquired 
after the fruitfulnesse of the yeare following. And myselfe know some Gentlemen that confesse, 
if a certaine Fountaine (being otherwise veiy cleane and cleare) be suddenly troubled by meanes of 
a Worme unknowne, that the same is a personall Summons for some of them to depart out of the 

n Bedae Eccles. Hist. lib. ii. cap. 16. 

I find the following Recipe for making a Holy Well in " Tom of all Trades, or the plain Path- 
Way to Preferment," by Thomas Powell, 4to. Lond. 1631. p. 31. "Let them finde out some 
strange Water, some unheard of Spring. It is an easie. matter to discolour or alter the Taste of 
it in some measure (it makes no matter how little). Report strange Cures that it hath done. Beget 
a superstitious Opinion of it. Good Fellowship shall uphold it, and the neighbouring Townes shall 
all sweare for it." 





" ^Edificare casas, plostello adjungere mures, 

Ludere par impar, equitare in arundine longa 

Herat. Sat. I. ii. s. iii. 247- 
" Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen 

Full many a sprightly Race 

Disporting on thy margent green 

The Paths of Pleasure trace, 

Who foremost now delight to cleave 

With pliant Arm thy glassy wave ? 

The captive Linnet which enthrall ? 

What idle progeny succeed 

To chace the rolling Circles speed, 

Or urge the flying Ball ?" 


MISSON, in his Travels in England translated by Ozell, p. 304. says : " Be- 
sides the Sports and Diversions common to most other European Nations, as 

The following is an Account of the Games, &c. represented in the margin of the " Roman 
d'Alexandre," (preserved in the Bodleian Library, No. 264.) from Mr. Strutt's Notes, taken upon 
its inspection, with some Corrections in explanation of the Games, communicated by Francis 
Douce, Esq. 

This superbly illuminated Manuscript is entitled " Romans du boin Roi Alexandre qui fu 
prescrip le xviij. jor de Deccmbre Van M.ccc.xxxvnj." "Che livre fu perfais de le enluminure 
au xviii. jour davryl par Jehan de Guse 1'an de grace M.ccc.xLiiij." The last sentence in gold 



Tennis, Billiards, Chess, Tick-tack, Dancing, Plays, Sec. the English have some 
which are particular to them, or at least which they love and use more than 
any other people." 

J. A Dance of Men and Women, the men in fancy dresses masked, one with a Stag's head, ano- 
ther with a Bear's, and a third with a Wolf's. 

2. Cock-fighting. No appearance of artificial Spurs. 

3. Hot-Cockles. 

4. A Tub elevated on a Pole, and three naked Boys running at it with a long stick. 

5. Playing at Chess. D. Jeu de Merilles. 

. Shooting at Rabbits, Fowls, &c. with long and cross Bows. 

7. Fighting with Sword and round Buckler. 

8. Playing at Bowls. 

9. Whipping Tops, as at present. 

10. Playing at Dice ; one stakes his Cloak against the other's Money. 

11. A Man leaping through a Hoop held by two Men, his Cloaths being placed on the other side 
for him to leap on. 

1-2. Walking on Stilts. 

13. Dogs sitting up ; and a Man with a Stick commanding them. 

14. A Man dancing, habited as a Stag, with a Drum before him. 

15. Boy blindfold, others buffetting him with their hoods. 

1 6. Boys, dressed up as dancing Dogs, passing by a Man seated in a Chair with a stick. 

17. A Man, with a small Shield and Club, fighting a horse rearing up to fall upon him. 

IS. One Boy carrying another with his back upwards as if to place him upon a pole and sort of 
cushion suspended by two Ropes carried on the Shoulders of two others. 

19. Morris Dancers. 

20. Balancing a Sword on the Finger, and a Wheel on the Shoulder. 

21. A Boy seated on a Stool holding up his leg. Another in a sling, made by a rope round a 
pulley, holding up his foot, and swung by a third Boy, so that his foot may come in contact with 
the foot of the first Boy, who, if he did not receive the foot of the swinging Boy properly would 
risk a severe blow on the body. 

22. A dancing Bear, with a Man holding something not understood in his hand. 

23. Running at the Quintain on foot. A Man holds up the Bag of Sand. 

24. Two Boys drawing a third with all their force seated on a stool (on which is a Saddle) run- 
ning on four Wheels. 

25. A moveable Quintain. The Bag supposed to be held out. 

2ti. A Man laid on his Belly upen a long stool, his head hanging over a vessel with water at the 
bottom; another Man standing at the other end of the stool to lift it up and plunge the head of 
the first in the water. 



There was an old Sport among Children, called in Shakspeare's Hamlet 
" Hide Fox and all after," which if I mistake not is the same Game that else- 

27. Two Boys carrying a third, upon a stick thrust between his legs, who holds a Cock in his 
hands. They are followed by another Boy with a flag. See vol. i. p. 66. 

28. Water Quintain. A Boat rowed by four persons and steered by one. A Man with a long 
pole at the stern. 

29. Walking upon the hands to Pipe and Tabor. 

30. A Species of Musick. 

31. A Man seated, holding out his foot, against which another presses his. 

32. Fighting with Shield and Club. 

33. Carrying on Pickapack. 

34. Five Women seated, a sixth kneeling and leaping upon her hands. One of them lifts up her 
Garments over her head which the rest seem to be buffeting. 

35. A Boy seated cross-legged upon a Pole supported by two Stools over a Tub of Water, in. 
one hand holding something not understood, in the other, apparently, a Candle. 

36. The Game of " Frog in the middle you cannot catch me." 

37. Three Boys on Stools, in a Row, striking at each other. 

38. A Man carrying another on his Shoulders. 

39. A Man in armour seated, holding a Shield, another running at him with a Pole. The- armed 
Man in place of a Quintain. I suspect this to be nothing more than the human Quintain. 

40. Two Men seated feet to feet, pulling at a stick with all their might. 

41. Two Men balancing in their hands a long board on which a Boy is kneeling on one knee 
with three swords, forming (by their points meeting) a Triangle, and to Music. 

42. A Man hanging upon a Pole with his elbows and feet together, and his head between his 
hams, supported by two other men. 

43. Two Men fighting with Club and Target. 

44. Two Hand-Bells, common with the other Music in the Masquerade Dances. It may be 
noted that the Women do not appear to have been disguised; the Men only, and in various forms, 
with the heads of all manner of Animals, Devils, &c. 

45. A Man with two Bells, and two figures disguised as Animals, 

46. A Man and Bear dancing. 

47. A Man with Monkies tumbling and dancing. 

48. Four Figures, one blindfold with a Stick in his hand, and an Iron Kettle at a little distance 
n which he appears to strike ; th others waiting for the event. 


where occurs under the name of " All-hid ;" which as Steevens tells us is alluded 
to in Decker's Satiromastix : " Our unhandsome-faced Poet does play at Bo-peep 
with your Grace, and cries All-hid, aa boys do." 

In a curious little Book entitled "A Curtaine Lecture," 12mo. Lond. 1637. 
p. 206. is the following passage : " A Sport called All-hid, which is a mere 
Children's pastime." 


In Coates's History of Reading, p. 223. among the Churchwardens' Accounts 
of St. Laurence Parish, A. D. 1549- is the following Entry : 
" Paid to Will'm "\Vatlynton, for that the p'ishe was indetted to hym for makyng 

of the Butts, xxxvis." 
Ibid. p. 131. St. Mary's Parish, sub anno 1566'. " Itm, for the makyng of the 

Butts, viijs." 
Ibid. p. 132. 1622. "Paid to two Laborers to playne the Grounde where the 

Buttes should be, vs. vjd. 

1629. " Paid towards the Butts mending, ij*. vjd. 
Ibid. p. 379- St. Giles's Parish, A. D. 1566. " Itm. for carrying ofTurfesfor 

the Butts xvjrf. 

Ibid. p. 381. 1605. "Three Labourers, two days Work aboute the Butts iiijs." 
" Carrying ix load of Turfes for the Butts, \js." 

"For two pieces of Timber to fasten on the Railes of the Butts, iiijrf." 
1621. "The parishioners did agree that the Churchwardens and Constables 

49. Three figures with their hands elevated, as if to clap them together ; one of them has his 
Fingers bent, as if taking a pinch of Snuff. 

50. A Man with a long Pole like a Rope-dancer. 

51. Boys : one blindfold, the others beating him with their hands. 

52. Four Men, one putting his hand upon the head of a fifth, who sits in the middle cross- 
legged and cross armed ; the rest seem as if advancing to strike him open-handed. 

53. A Dance of seven Men and seven Women holding hands. 


should sett up a payre of Butts called shooting Butts, in such place as 
they should think most convenient in St. Giles Parish, which Butts cost 


The following Description of Barley Break, written by Sir Philip Sidney, is 

m [The above are the only notices found among Mr. Brand's papers on the subject of ARCHERY. 

With the History of this exercise as a military Art we have no concern here. Fitzstephen, who 

wrote in the reign of Henry the second, notices it among the Summer pastimes of the London 

youth : and the repeated Statutes from the thirteenth to the sixteenth Century enforcing the use 

of the bow, usually ordered the leisure time upon holidays to be passed in its exercise. 

" In the sixteenth Century we meet with heavy complaints," says Mr. Strutt in his Sports and 
Pastimes, p . 43. " respecting the disuse of the long-bow, and especially in the vicinity of London." 
Stow informs us that before his time it had been customary at Bartholomew-tide for the Lord 
Mayor, with the Sheriffs and Aldermen, to go into the fields at Finsbury, where the citizens were 
assembled, and sho;:t at the standard with broad and flight arrows for Games ; and this exercise 
was continued for several days : but in his time it was practised only one afternoon, three or four 
days after the festival of Saint Bartholomew. Stow died in 1605. 

After the reign of Charles the first, Archery appears to have fallen into disrepute. Sir William 
Davenant, in a mock Poem, entitled "The long Vacation in London," describes the Attorneys and 
Proctors as making Matches in Finsbury Fields : 

" With Loynes in canvas bow-case tied, 
Where Arrows stick with mickle pride ; 
Like Ghosts of Adam Bell and Clymme ; 
Sol sets for fear they'll shoot at him !" 

About 1753, a Society of Archers appears to have been established in the Metropolis, who erected 
targets on the same spot during the Easter and Whitsun Holidays, when the best shooter was stiled 
Captain, and the second Lieutenant for the ensuing year. Of the original members of this Society 
there were only two remaining when Mr. Barrington compiled his Observations in the Archae- 
ologia. It is now incorporated in the Archer's Division of the Artillery Company. 

About 1789, Archery was again revived as a general Amusement : and Societies of Bow-men 
and Toxophilites were formed in almost every part of the Kingdom. It lasted, however, but a 
few Years ; and the exercise of the Bow for pastime, as well as War, seems now almost entirely 
laid aside.] 


taken from the Song of Lamon in the first Volume of the Arcadia, where he re- 
lates the Passion of Claius and Strephon for the beautiful Urania : 

" She went abroad, thereby, 
A BARLEY BUEAK her sweet, swift Feet to try." 

* * * * 

Afield they go, where many Lookers be. 

* * * * 

Then Couples three be straight allotted there, 
They of both ends, the middle Two, do fly ; 

The two that, in mid-space Hell called were, 
Must strive with waiting foot and watching Eye, 

To catoh of them, and them to Hell to bear, 
That they, as well as they may Hell supply ; 

Like some that seek to salve their blotted Name 

Will others blot, till all do taste of Shame. 

There you may see, soon as the middle Two 
Do coupled, towards either Couple make, 

They, false and fearful, do their Hands undo ; 
Brother his brother, Friend doth friend forsake, 

Heeding himself, cares not how Fellow do, 
But if a Stranger mutual Help doth take ; 

As perjur'd Cowards in Adversity, 

With Sight of Fear from Friends to Friends do fly." 

Sir John Suckling, also has given the following Description of this Pastime 
with allegorical Personages : 

" Love, Reason, Hate did once bespeak 
Three Mates to play at Barley-break, 
Love Folly took ; and Reason Fancy ; 
And Hate consorts with Pride, so dance they : 
Love coupled last, and so it fell 
That Love and Folly were in Hell. 
The break ; and Love would Reason meet, 
But Hate was nimbler on her feet ; 
Fancy looks for Pride, and thither 


Hies, and they two hug together ; 
Yet this new coupling still doth tell 
That Love and Folly were in Hell. 

The rest do break again, and Pride 
Hath now got Reason on her Side ; 
Hate and Fancy meet, and stand 
Untouch'd by Love in Folly's hand ; 
Folly was dull, but Love ran well, 
So Love and Folly were in Hell a ." 

In Holiday's old Play of TEXNOFAMIA, or the Marriages of the Arts, 4to. 1 61 8. 
Sign. L. 2. this Sport is introduced. 

* See the Dramatick Works of Philip Massinger, Svo. Lond. 1779, vol. i. p. 167. whence these 
Extracts are quoted. Early-break is several times alluded to in Massinger's Plays. 

The subsequent is from Herrick's Hesperides, p. 34. 

" Early-Break : or, Last in Hell. 
We two are last in Hell : what may we feare 
To be tormented, or kept Pris'ners here : 
Alas ! if kissing be of Plagues the worst, 
We'll wish, in Hell we had been last and first." 

{Dr. Jamieson in his Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language calls this " A Game ge- 
nerally played by young people in a corn-yard. Hence called Darla-bracks about the Stacks, S. B." 
(i. . in the North of Scotland.) " One Stack is fixed on as the dule or goal ; and one person is 
appointed to catch the rest of the Company who run out from the dule. He does not leave it till 
they are all out his sight. Then he sets off to catch them. Any one, who is taken, cannot run 
out again with his former Associates, being accounted a prisoner ; but is obliged to assist his cap- 
tor in pursuing the rest. When all are taken, the game is finished ; and he, who was first taken, 
is bound to act as catcher in the next game. This innocent sport seems to be almost entirely for- 
gotten in the South of S. It is also falling into desuetude in the North." He adds, " Perhaps 
from barley and break, q. breaking of the parley ; because, after a certain time allowed for settling 
preliminaries, on a cry being given, it is the business of one to catch as many prisoners as he can. 
Did we suppose it to be allied to burlaw, this game might be viewed as originally meant as a 
snortive representation of the punishment of those who broke the laws of the boors."] 



This Sport is found among the Illuminations of an old Missal formerly in 
the possession of John Ivcs, Esq. cited by Mr. Strutt in his Manners and Cus- 
toms. Gay says concerning it : 

"As once I play'd at Blindmari 's-Buff, it hap'r, 
About my Eyes the Towel thick was wrapt. 
I miss 1 d the Swains, and seized on Blouzelind, 
True speaks that antient Proverb, " Love is blind a ." 

a A pleasant Writer in the Gent. Mag. for February 1738. vol. viii. p. 80. says that "Blind-Man's 
Buff was a ridicule upon Hen. VIII. and Woolsey ; where the Cardinal Minister was bewildering 
liis Master, with Treaty upon Treaty with several Princes, leaving him to catch whom he could, 
till at last he caught his Minister, and gave him up to be buffetted. When this Reign was farther 
advanced, and many of the Abbey lands had been alienated, but the Clergy still retained some 
power, the play most in fashion was, J am upon the Friars Ground, picking of Gold and Silver." 

[Dr. Jamieson, in his Etymological Dictionary, gives us a very curious Account of this game, 
which in Scotland appears to have been called BELLY-BLIND. In the Suio-Gothic it appears this 
game is called bllnd-boc, i. e. blind goat ; and, in German blind-kuhe, q. blind cow. The French 
call this game Cligne-musset from cligner, to wink, and muss hidden ; also, Colin-maillard, equi- 
valent to " Collin the buffoon." " This game," says Dr. Jamieson, " was not unknown to the 
Greeks. They called it *oAAa(?io-^o?, from x.o\Xa,G^w, impingo. It is thus defined : Ludi genus, 
quo hie quidem manibus expansis oculos suos tegit, ille vero postquam percussit, quaerit num ver- 
berarit ; Pollux ap. Scapul. It was also used among the Romans." 

" We are told that the great Gustavus Adolphus, at the very time that he proved the scourge of 
the house of Austria, and when he was in the midst of his triumphs, used in private to amuse him- 
self in playing at Blindman's Buff with his Colonels. ' Cela passoit, (say the authors of the Diet. 
Trev.) pour une galanterie admirable.' vo. Colin-Maillard." 

" In addition to what has formerly been said," Dr. Jamieson adds, under BLIND HARIE, " (ano- 
ther name for Blindmari s-buff in Scotland) it may be observed that this Sport in Isl. is designed 
Jcraekis-blinda." Verelius supposes that the Ostrogoths had introduced this Game into Italy ; 
where it is called giuoco della cieca, or the play of the Blind." 

Chacke-blynd Man and Jockie-bllnd-man are other Scottish appellations for the same Game.] 



Appears to have been another Childish Game. Marmion, in his Antiquary, 
4to. l64l. Act. i. says: " I have heard of a Nobleman that has been drunk with 
a Tinker, and of a Magnifico that has plaid at Blow-point" 

So, in the Comedy of Lingua, 1607, Act iii. sc. 2. Anamnestes introduces 
Memory as telling "how he plaid at Blowe-point with Jupiter when he was in 
his side-coats." 


Misson, in his Memoirs and Observations in his Travels over England, p. 304. 
speaking of Sports and Diversions, says : " Any thing that looks like Fighting 
is delicious to an Englishman. If two little Boys quarrel in the Street, the Pas- 
sengers stop, make a ring round them in a moment, and set them against one 
another, that they may come to fisticuffs. When 'tis come to a Fight, each 
pulls off his neckcloth and his waistcoat, and gives them to hold to the Standers- 
by; (some will strip themselves naked quite to their wastes;) then they begin 
to brandish their fists in the air ; the blows are aim'd all at the Face, they kick 
one another's shins, they tug one another by the hair, &c. He that has got the 
other down, may give him one blow or two before he rises, but no more ; and 
let the Boy get up ever so often, the other is oblig'd to box him again as often as 
he requires it. During the fight, the Ring of by-standers encourage the Com- 
batants with" great delight of heart, and never part them while they fight ac- 
cording to the Rules : and these by-standers are not only other Boys, Porters, 
and Rabble, but all sorts of Men of Fashion ; some thrusting by the Mob, 
that they may see plain, others getting upon Stalls ; and all would hire places if 
Scaffolds could be built in a moment. The Father and Mother of the Boys let 
them fight on as well as the rest, and hearten him that gives ground or has the 
worst. These Combats are less frequent among grown Men than Children, 


282 BOXING. 

but they are not rare. If a Coachman has a dispute about his Fare with a 
Gentleman that has hired him, and the Gentleman offers to fight him to de- 
cide the Quarrel, the Coachman consents with all his heart: the Gentleman 
pulls off his Sword, lays it in some Shop, with his Cane, Gloves, and Cravat, 
and boxes in the same manner as I have describ'd above. If the Coachman 
is soundly clrubb'd, which happens almost always, (a Gentleman seldom exposes 
himself to such a battle without he is sure he's strongest) that goes for payment ; 
but if he is the Beator, the Beatde must pay the Money about which they quar- 
icll'd. I once saw the late Duke of Grafton at fisticuffs, in the open Street 1 , 
with such a Fellow, whom he lamb'd most horribly. In France we punish such 
rascals with our Cane, and sometimes with the flat of our Sword : but in England 
this is never practis'd ; they use neither Sword nor Stick against a Man that is 
unarm'd : and if an unfortunate Stranger (for an Englishman would never take 
it into his head) should draw his Sword upon one that had none, he'd have a 
hundred people upon him in a moment, that would, perhaps, lay him so flat that 
he would hardly ever get up again till the Resurrection." 


In " Foure Statutes, specially selected and commanded by his Majestic to be 
carefully put in execution of all Justices and other Officers of the Peace through- 
out the Realme : together with a Proclamation, a Decree of the Starre-Cham- 
ber, and certaine Orders depending upon the former Lawes, more particularly 
concerning the Citie of London and Counties adjoining, A. D. l60y. 4to. b. I. 
p. 94- is the following Order : 

"That all Plaies, Bear-baitings, Games, Singing of Ballads, Buckler-play, 
or such like causes of Assemblies of People be utterly prohibited, and the par- 
ties offending severely punished by any Alderman or Justice of the Peace." 

1 " In the very widest part of the Strand. The Duke of Grafton was big and extremely robust. 
He had hid his blue Ribband before he took the Coach, so that the Coachman did not know 


Misson, in his Travels translated by Ozell, p. 307. says : " Within these few 
years you should often see a sort of Gladiators marching thro' the Streets, in 
their Shirts to the Waste, their Sleeves tuck'd up, sword in hand, and preceded 
by a Drum, to gather Spectators. They gave so much a head to see the Fight, 
which was with cutting Swords, and a kind of Buckler for defence. The Edge 
of the Sword was a little blunted, and the Care of the Prize-fighters was not so 
much to avoid wounding one another, as to avoid doing it dangerously : ne- 
vertheless, as they were obliged to fight 'till some blood was shed, with- 
out which nobody would give a Farthing for the Show, they were some- 
times forc'd to play a little ruffly. I once saw a much deeper and longer Cut 
given than was intended. These Fights are become very rare within these 
eight or ten years. Apprentices, and all Boys of that degree, are never 
without their Cudgels, with which they fight something like the Fellows be- 
fore-mention'd, only that the Cudgel is nothing but a Stick ; and that a little 
Wicker Basket, which covers the handle of the Stick, like the Guard of a Spanish 
Sword, serves the Combatant instead of defensive Anns." 


Fitzstephen mentions the baiting of Bulls with Dogs as a Diversion of the 
London youths on Holidays in his time *. 

Hentzner, in his Travels in England, p. 42. says : " There is a place built in 
the form of a -Theatre, which serves for the baiting of Bulls and Bears ; they are 

Descript. of London [edited by Dr. Pegge] 4to. Lond. 1772. p. 50. In Misson's Memoirs and 
Observations in his Travels over England, pp. 24. y5. 26. are some remarks on the manner of Bull- 
baiting as it was practised in the time of K. William the third. 

The antient Law of the Market directing that no man should bait any Bull, Bear, or Horse 
in the open Streets in the metropolis, has been already quoted in the former volume of this 


fastened behind, and then worried by great English bull-dogs ; but not without 
great risque to the Dogs, from the horns of the one and the teeth of the other : 
and it sometimes happens they are killed on the spot. Fresh ones are immedi- 
ately supplied in the places of those that are wounded, or tired. To this Enter- 
tainment there often follows that of whipping a blinded Bear, which is performed 
by five or six men, standing circularly, with whips, which they exercise upon 
him without any mercy, as he cannot escape from them because of his chain. 
He defends himself with all his force and skill, throwing down all who come 
within his reach, and are not quite active enough to get out of it, and tearing the 
Whips out of their hands and breaking them. At these Spectacles, and every 
where else, the English are constantly smoking Tobacco b ." Hentzner was here 
in 1598. 

Gilpin in his Life of Cranmer tells us : "Bear-baiting, brutal as it was, was 
by no means an Amusement of the lower people only. An odd incident fur- 
nishes us with the proof of this. An important controversial Manuscript was 
sent by Archbishop Cranmer across the Thames. The person entrusted bade 
his Waterman keep off from the tumult occasioned by baiting a Bear on the 
river, before the King ; he rowed however too near, and the persecuted animal 
overset the Boat by trying to board it. The Manuscript, lost in the confusion, 
floated away, and fell into the hands of a Priest, who, by being told that it be- 
longed to a Privy-Counsellor, \vas terrified from making use of it, which might 
have been fatal to the Head of the Reformed party." 

In a Proclamation " to avoyd the abhominable place called the Stewes," dated 
April the 13th in the 37th Year of Henry the Eighth, (preserved in the first 
Volume of a Collection of Proclamations in the Archives of-the Society of Anti- 
quaries of London, p. 225.) we read as follows : "Finallie to th' intent all resort 
should be eschued to the said place, the King's Majestie straightlie chargeth and 
comaundeth that from the feast of Easter next ensuing, there shall noe Beare- 
buiting be used in that Howe, or in any place on that side the Bridge called 
London Bridge, whereby the accustomed Assemblies may be hi that place 
cleerely abolished and extinct, upon like paine as well to them that keepe the 

k Trav. in England, 8vo. Strawb. Hill, 1757. 


Beares and Dogges, whych have byn used to that purpose, as to all such as will 
resort to see the same c ." 

In " Vaughan's Golden Grove," 8vo. Lond. 1608. Signal. P. 6 b. we are told: 
"Famous is that example which chanced neere London, A. D. 1583. on the 
13th Daye of Januarie being Sunday, at Paris Garden, where there met toge- 
ther (as they were wont d ) an infinite number of people to see the Beare-bayt- 
ing, without any regard to that high Day. But, in the middest of their Sports, 
all the Scaffolds and Galleries sodainely fell downe, in such wise that two hun- 
dred persons were crushed well nigh to death, besides eight that were killed 

[In Laneham's Account of the Queen's Entertainment at Killingworth Castle, 
1575. we have the following curious picture of a Bear-baiting, in a Letter to Mr. 
Martin a mercer of London : 

" Well, Syr, the Bearz wear brought foorth in too the Court, the Dogs set too 
them, too argu the points even face to face ; they had learn'd Counsel also a 
both parts : what may they be coounted parciull that are retain but a to syde? I 
ween no. Very feers both ton and toother and eager in argument : If the Dog 
in pleadyng would pluk the Bear by the throte, the Bear with travers vvoould 
claw him again by the scalp ; confess and a list, but avoyd a coold not that waz 
bound too the bar : And hiz Coounsell tolld him that it coold be too him no 

e The subsequent Extract from the same Proclamation will be thought curious. " Furthermore 
his Majestic straightlie chargeth and commandeth that all such Householders as, under the name 
of Baudes, have kept the notable and marked Houses, and knowne Hosieries, for the said evill 
disposed persons, that is to saie, such Housholders as do inhabite the Houses whited and painted, 
with Signes on the front, for a token of the said Houses, shall avoyd with bagge and baggage, before 
the feast of Easter next comyng, upon paine of like punishment, at the Kings Majesties Will and 

d See also Stubbcs's Anatomic of Abuses, 12mo. Lond. 1 585. p. 118. where is a relation of the same 
Accident. In the very rare Roman Catholic Book, '' The Life of the reverend Father Bennet of 
Canfilde, Douay 1623. translated from the French by R. R. Catholique Priest, p. 11. is the fol- 
Jowing passage : " Even Sunday is a day designed for beare bayting and even the howre of theyre (the 
Protestants) Service is allotted to it, and indeede the Tyme is as well spent at the one as at the 
other." R. R. was at least an honest Catholic ; he does not content himself with equivocal glances 
at the erroneous Creed f but speaks out plainly. 


pollccy in pleading. Thearfore thus with fending and prooving, with plucking 
and tugging, skratting and byting, by plain tooth and nayll a to side and toother, 
such expens of blood and leather waz thear between them, az a moonth's licking, 
I ween, wyl not recoover ; and yet remain az far out az ever they wear. 

" It was a Sport very pleazaunt of theez beastz j to see the Bear with his pink 
nyez leering after hiz enmiez approch, the nimbleness and wayt of the Dog to 
take hiz avauntage, and the fors and experiens of the Bear agayn to avoyd the 
assauts : if he wear bitten in one place, how he would pynch in an oother to get 
free : that if he wear taken onez, then what shyft, with byting, with clawyng, 
with roring, tossing and tumbling, he woould woork too wynd hymself from 
them : and when he waz lose, to shake his ears twyse or thryse wyth the blud 
and the slaver about his fiznamy, was a matter of goodly releef e ."] 


This is a Welsh Custom, practised as they throw the Blacksmith's Stone 
in some parts of England. There is a similar Game in the North of England 
called Long Bullets. The prize is to him that throws the Ball furthest in the 
fewest Throws. 

[CAT and DOG. 

Dr. Jamieson in his Etymological Dictionary tells us this is the name of an 
antient Sport used in Angus and Lothian. " The following Account," he adds, 

is given of it." 

e See Mr. Nichols's Progresses of Queen Elizabeth, vol. i. " Her Majesty," says Rowland White, 
in the Sidney Papers, " this Day appoints a Frenchman to doe feates upon a rope in the Conduit 
Court. To-morrow she hath commanded the beares, the bull, and the ape to be bayted in the 
Tilt-yard." Andrews's Continuation of Henry's History of Great Britain, 4to. 1796. p. 532. 


" Three play at this Game, who are provided with Clubs. They cut out two 
holes, each about a foot in diameter, and seven inches in depth. The distance 
between them is about twenty-six feet. One stands at each hole with a club. 
These clubs are called Dogs. A piece of wood of about four inches long, and 
one inch in diameter, called a Cat, is thrown from the one hole towards the 
other, by a third person. The object is, to prevent the Cat from getting into 
the hole. Every time that it enters the hole, he who has the Club, at that hole, 
loses the club, and he who threw the Cat gets possession both of the Club and 
of the hole, while the former possessor is obliged to take charge of the Cat. If 
the Cat be struck, he who strikes it changes place with the person who holds 
the other club ; and as often as these positions are changed, one is counted 
as won in the game, by the two who hold the Clubs, and who are viewed as 

" This is not unlike the Stool-ball described by Strutt, Sports and Pastimes, 
p. 76: but it more nearly resembles Club-ball, an antient English game, ibid. 
p. 83. It seems to be an early form of Cricket*."] 


I know not what this means, which occurs in the following passage in " A 
Boulster Lecture, 8vo. Lond. 1640. p. 163. "Playes at Cent-foot purposely to 
discover the pregnancy of her Conceit." 

a In the Life of the Scotch Rogue, 12mo. Lond. 1722. p. 7- the following Sports occur : " I 
was but a sorry proficient in Learning : being readier at CAT AND DOUG, Cappy Hole, ridlng-the 
Hurley Hacket, playing at Kyles and Dams, Spang-Bodle, Wrestling, and Foot-ball, and (such 
other Sports as we use in our Country,) than at my Book." " Cappy-Hole," is also mentioned 
in the Notes to Bannatyne's Scottish Poems, p. 25 1. where Play at the Trulis likewise occurs. This 
last is supposed to resemble T. Mum, which is like a Spindle. Trouil is Spindle. 



Cherry Pit is a Play wherein they pitch Cherry-stones into a little Hole. It 
is noticed in the "Pleasant Grove of new Fancies," Svo. Lond. 16.57; as well 
as in Herrick's Hespericlcs. 


In the English Translation of Levinus Lemnius, fol. Lond. 1658. p. 368. we 
read: "The Antients used to play at COCKALL or casting of Huckle Bones*, 
which is done with smooth Sheeps bones. The Dutch call them Pickelen, where- 
with our young Maids that are not yet ripe use to play for a Husband, 
and young married folks despise these as soon as they are married. But 
young Men use to contend one with another with a kind of bone taken forth of 
Oxe-feet. The Dutch call them Coten, and they play with these at a set time 
of the Year." " Moreover Cockals which the Dutch call Teelings are different 


from Dice, for they are square with four sides, and Dice have six. Cockals are 
used by Maids amongst us, and do no wayes waste any one's Estate. For either 
they passe away the time with them, or if they have time to be idle they play 
for some small matter, as for Chesnuts, Filberds, Pins, Buttons, and some 
such Juncats." 

In Langley's Abridgement of Polydor Vergile, fol. 1. we have another De- 
scription of this Game: "There is a Game also that is played with the posterne 
bone in the hyncler foote of a Sheepe, Oxe, Gote, fallowe or redde Dere, whiche 
in Latin is called Talus. It hath foure Chaunces, the Ace point, that is named 
Canis, or Canicula, was one of the sides, he that cast it leyed doune a peny 
or so muche as the Gamers were agreed on, the other side was called Venus, 
that signifieth seven. He that cast the Chaunce wan sixe and all that was layd 
doune for the castyng of Canis. The two other sides were called Chius and 
Senio. He that did thro we Chius wan three. And he that cast Senio gained 
four. This Game (as I take it) is used of Children in Northfolke, and they 

* In "The Sanctuarie of Salvation," &c. translated from the Latin of Levinus Lemnius by Henry 
Kinder, Svo. Lond. pr. by H. Singleton, p. 144. we read these Bones are called " Huckle-Bones, 
or Coytes." 


cal it the Chaunce Bone ; they playe with three or ibure of those Bones to- 
gether; it is either the same or very lyke tu it*." 


" To dance Curcuddie or Curcuddoch," (says Dr. Jamieson in his Etymologi- 
cal Dictionary) "is a phrase used" in Scotland " to denote a play among Chil- 
dren, in which they sit on their houghs, and hop round in a circular form. 

" Many of these old terms," Dr. Jamieson adds, " which now are almost en- 
tirely confined to the mouths of children, may be overlooked as nonsensical or 
merely arbitrary. But the most of them, we are persuaded, are as regularly 
formed as any other in the Language. 

" The first syllable of this Word is undoubtedly the verb curr, to sit on the 
houghs or hams. The second may be from Teut. kuddc, a flock ; kudd-en, coire, 
convenire, congregari, aggregari ; kudde ivy's, gregatim, catcrvatim, q. " to curr 

" The same Game is called Hurry Hurcheon in the North of Scotland, either 
from the resemblance of one in this position to a hurcheon, or hedge hog, squat- 
ting under a bush ; or from the Belg. hurk-en, to squat, to 


says Mr. Steevens, seems to have been a Game. In an old Collection of 
Satyres, Epigrams, &c. I find it enumerated among other pastimes : 
, "At Shove-groate, Venter-point, or Crosse and Pile, 

At leaping o'er a Midsummer Bone-fier, 

Or at the drawing Dun out of the myer." 

See Reed's edit, of Shakspeare, 8vo. Lond. 1803. vol. xx. p. 51. 

a [For further information relating to this Game, as played by the Ancients, the reader may con 
suit " Joannis Meursii Ludibunda, sive de Ludis Graecorum, Liber singularis, 8vo Lugd. Bat. 1625. 
p. 7. . AZTPAFAAIEMOZ : and " Dan. Souterii Palamedes," p. 81. but more particularly " I Tali ed 
altri Strumenti lusori degli antichi Romani, discritti da Francesco de "Ficoroni." 4to. Rom. 1734.] 


So in "The Dutchess of Suffolke," 4to. Lond. 1631. Signal. E.3. 

" Well done, my Masters, lends your hands, 
Draw Dun out of the Ditch, 
Draw, pull, helpe all, so, so, well done." " They pull him out." 

They had shoved Bishop Bonner into a Well, and were pulling him out. 

[We find this Game noticed at least as early as Chaucer's time, in the Man- 
ciple's Prologue : 

"Then gan our hoste to jape and to play 
And sayd; sires, what? ' in the Mire." 

How this Sport was practised, says Mr. Douce, we have still to learn. 
Illustr. of Shaksp. and of Ancient Manners, vol. ii. p. 180.] 


There was a Sport entitled " Draw-Gloves," of which however I find no de- 
scription. The following Jeu d'esprit is found in a curious Collection of poetical 
pieces, entitled " A pleasant Grove of new Fancies," 8vo. Lond. 1657. p. 56. 

Draw Gloves. 

" At Draw-Gloves wee'l play, 
And prethee let's lay 

A Wager, and let it be this ; 
Who first to the Summe 
Of twenty doth come, 

Shall have for his winning a Kisse." 
See also Herrick's Hesperides, p. 111. 


Butler in his Hudibras (P, II. Canto iii. 1. 501.) makes it one of the important 
Qualifications of his Conjurer to tell : 


" What figur'd Slates are best to make, 
On watry surface Duck or Drake." 

I find the following elegant description of this Sport in an antient Church 
writer, which evinces its high antiquity. "Pueros videmus certatim gestien- 
tes, testarum in mare jaculationibus ludere x Is lusus est, testam teretem, 
jactatione Fluctuum laevigatam, legere de litore : cam testam piano situ digitis 
comprehensam, inciinem ipsuin atque humilcin, quantum potest, super undas ir- 
rotare : ut illud jaculum vel dorsuin maris raderet, vel enataret, dum leni im- 
petu labitur : vel sutnmis fluctibus tonsis emicaret, emergeret, dum assiduo saltu 
sublevatur. Is se in pueris victorem ferebat, cujus testa et procurreret longius, et 
trequentius exsiliret a ." 


Misson says, p. 307- " In Winter Foot-Ball is a useful and charming Exer- 
cise. It is a Leather Ball about as big as one's Head, fill'd with Wind. This is 
kick'd about from one to t'other in the Streets, by him that can get at it, and that 
is all the art of it." 


Mr. Strutt considers this as one of the most antient Games played with the 
Ball that require the assistance of a Club or Bat. " In the reign of Edward the 
third, the Latin name Cambuca was applied to this pastime, and it derived the 
denomination, no doubt, from the crooked club or bat with which it was played ; 
the bat was ako called a bandy from its being bent, and hence the game itself is 
frequently written in English bandy-ball. 

" It should seem that Goff was a fashionable Game among the Nobility at 
the commencement of the seventeenth Century, and it was one of the exercises 
with which Prince Henry, eldest son to James the first, occasionally amused him- 
self, as we learn from the following Anecdote recorded by a person who was pre- 
sent : ' At another time playing at Goff, a play not unlike to pale-maille, whilst 

Mimicius Felix, ex recens. Jo. Davisii. 8?o. Cactabr. 1712. p. 28. 


his schoolmaster stood talking with another and marked not his highness warning 
him to stand further off, the prince thinking he had gone aside, lifted up his goff- 
club to strike the ball; mean tyme one standing by said to him beware that you 
hit not master Newton, wherewith he drawing back his hand, said, Had 1 done 
so, I had but paid my debts'" 

Dr. Jamieson derives Golf from the Dutch kolfa Club. Wachter derives it 
from klopp-en to strike. 

Golf and Foot-ball appear to have been prohibited in Scotland by King James 
the second in 1457; and again in 1491, by James the fourth. The ball used 
at this Game was stuffed very hard with feathers. Strutt says that this Game 
is much practised in the North of England ; and Dr. Jamieson that it b a com- 
mon Game in Scotland*.] 


A Goose, whose neck is greased, being suspended by the legs to a Cord tied 
to two Trees or high Posts, a number of men on horseback riding full-speed 
attempt to pull off the head, which if they accomplish they win the Goose. This 
has been practised in Derbyshire within the memory of persons now living. 

Mr. Douce says, his worthy friend Mr. Lumisden informed him that when 
voung he remembered the sport of " riding the Goose'' at Edinburgh. A bar 
was placed across the road, to which a Goose, whose neck had been previously 
greased, was tied. At this the Candidates, as before mentioned, plucked b . 

* See Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, p. B. Jamieson's Etym. Diet, in voce. 

In the Gentleman's Magazine for February 1795. p. 145. mention is made of Shinty Match, a 
game also peculiar to North Britain, something similar to the Golf. 

[Dr. Jamieson calls " SHINTY an inferior species of Golf generally played at by young people." 
He adds, " In London this game is called Hackie. It seems to be the same which is designed Not 
in Gloucest. ; the name being borrowed from the Ball, which is " made of a knotty piece of wood. 
GL Grose." Etym. Diet. c. SHISTY.] 

b In " Newmarket : or an Essay on the Turf,'' 8vo. Lond. 1771 . vol. ii. p. 174. we read : " In the 
Northern part of England it is no unusual diversion to tie a Rope across a street and let it swing 
about the distance of ten yards from the ground. To the middle of this a living Cock u tied by 
the legs. As he swings in the Air, a set of young people ride one after another, full sj>eed, under 


A Print of this barbarous custom may be seen in the " Trionfi, &c. della Ve- 
netia;" see also Menestrier, Traite des Tournois, p. 346. 

In Paullinus de Candore, p. 264. we read : " In Dania, tempore quadragesi- 
mali Belgffi rustic! in Insula Amack, Anserem, (candidum ego vidi,) fune alliga- 
tum, inque sublimi pendentem, habent, ad quern citatis Equis certatim properant, 
quique caput ei prius abruperit, victor evasit." 

Concerning the practice of swarming up a pole after a Goose placed at top ; 
see Sauval, Antiquites de Paris, torn. ii. p. 696. 


Boyer, in his Dictionary, calls Handy-Dandy, (a kind of play with the hands,) 
" sorte de Jeu des mains." 

Ainsworth in his Dictionary renders Handy-dandy by digitis micare ; to move 
the Fingers up and down very swiftly, the number of which, or several Fingers 
were guessed at for the determining things in question, as they hit or mistook the 
number of fingers." Mr. Douce thinks this is a mistake. 

Johnson says "Handy-dandy, a play in which Children change hands and 
places: " See how yon' justice rails upon yon' simple thief ! Hark, in thine ear : 
Change places and handy-dandy, which is the justice, which is the thief?" Shaksp. 
K. Lear, A. iv. sc. 6. 

Mr. Malone seems to have given the best interpretation. " Handy-dandy," he 
says, "is, I believe, a Play among Children, in which something is shaken be- 
tween two hands, and then a guess is made in which hand it is retained. See 
Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598: ' Bazzicckiare. To shake between two 
hands; to play handy-dandy'.'' See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 8vo. Lond- 1803. 
vol. xvii. p. 547 * 

the rope, and rising in their slirrups, catch at the Animal's head, which is close clipped and well 
soaped in order to elude the grasp. Now he who is able to his seat in his saddle and his 
hold of the Bird's bead, so as to carry it off in his hand, bears away the palm, and becomes the npble 
Hero of the day." 

See also Mr.Douce's Illustr. of Shaksp. and of Ancient Manners, vol. ii. p. lf>7. Cornelius Scrib- 
lerus in forbidding certain Sports to his son Martin till he is better informed of their antiquity 



This Sport is described as follows by Gay : 

" As at Hot Cockles once I laid me down, 

I felt the weighty hand of many a clown ; 

Buxoma gave a gentle Tap, and I 

Quick rose and read soft mischief in her Eyeb." 


This Game is noticed by Mr. Rogers in the Pleasures of Memory, 1. 35. 
" Twas here we chas'd the Slipper fey its sound." 


Mr. Steeveus says, "This is a Game played in several parts of England even 
at this time. A Stake is fixed into the Ground ; those who play, throw loggats 
at it, and he that is nearest the Stake wins. I have seen it played in different 
Counties at their Sheep-shearing Feasts, where the winner was entitled to a black 

says : " Neither Cross and Pile, nor Ducks and Drakes, are quite so ancient as Handy-Dandy, 
tho' Macrobius and St. Augustine take notice of the first, and Minutius Foelix describes the lat- 
ter ; but Handy-dandy is mentioned by Aristotle, Plato, and Aristophanes." Pope's Works, vol. vi. 
p. 115. 

He adds, Ibid. p. 116. " The play which the Italians call Cinque and the French Mourre is ex- 
tremely antient : It was played by Hymen and Cupid at the marriage of Psychd, and termed by the 
Latins ' digitis micare'." 

b The humorous Writer in the Gent. Mag. for Feb. 1738. already quoted, says: "Hot-Cockles 
and more Sacks to the Mill were certainly invented in the highest times of Ignorance and Supersti- 
tion, when the Laity were hood-winked, and a parcel of Monks were saddling their backs and bas- 
tinadoeing them." 

Cornelius Scriblerus says: "The Chytrindra described by Julius Pollux is certainly not our 
Hot -Cockle ; for that was by pinching, and not by striking : tho' there are good authors who affirm 
the Rathapygismus to be yet nearer the modern Hot-cockles. My son Martin may use either of 
them indifferently, they being equally antique." Pope's Works, vol. vi. p. 116. 


Fleece, which he afterwards presented to the Farmer's Maid to spin for the pur- 
pose of making a petticoat, and on condition that she knelt down on the Fleece 
to be kissed by all the Rustics present*/' 


Had no doubt their origin in Bowls : and received their name from the sub 
stance of which the Bowls were formerly made. Taw is the more common 
name of this play in England. 

Mr. Rogers notices Marbles in his Pleasures of Memory, 1. 1 37. 
"On yon gray stone that fronts the Chancel-door 
Worn smooth by busy feet, now seen no more, 
Each eve we shot the Marble through the ringii." 

a [Mr. Malone says Loggeting in the fields is mentioned for the first time among other new and 
crafty games and plays, in the Statute of 33 Hen. VIII. c. 9. Not being mentioned in former acts 
against unlawful games, it was probably not practised long before the Statute of Henry the eighth 
was made." 

" A Loggat-ground," (says Mr. Blount, another of the Commentators on Shakspeare,) " like a 
skittle-ground, is strewed with ashes, but is more extensive. A Bowl much larger than the jack of 
the game of Bowls is thrown first. The pins, which I believe are called loggats, are much thinner, 
and lighter at one extremity than the other. The bowl being first thrown, the players take the 
pins up by the thinner and lighter end, and fling them towards the bowl, and in such a manner 
that the pins may once turn round in the air, and slide with the thinner extremity foremost towards 
the bowl. The pins are about one or two-and-twenty inches long."] See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 
1803. vol. xviii. p. 326. 

b Notwithstanding Dr. Cornelius Scriblerus's Injunctions concerning playthings of " primitive 
and simple Antiquity," we are told " he yet condescended to allow" Martinus " the use of some 
few modern Play-things; such as might prove of any benefit to his mind, by instilling an early no- 
tion of the Sciences. For example, he found that Marbles taught him Percussion and the Laws of 
Motion ; Nutcrakers the use of the Leaver ; Swinging on the ends of a Board the Balance ; Bottle- 
screws the Vice ; Whirligigs the Axis and Peritrochia ; Bird-Cages the Pulley ; and Tops the cen- 
trifugal motion." Bob Cherry was thought useful and instructive, as it taught, " at once, two noble 
virtues, Patience and Constancy ; the first in adhering to the pursuit of one end, the latter in bear- 
ing disappointment." Pope's Works, vol. vi. p.117. 




This Sport is described as follows by Gay : 

" On two near Elms the slacken'd Cord I hung, 
Now high, now low, my Blouzalinda swung." 

So Rogers, in the Pleasures of Memory, 1. 77. 

" Soar'd in the Swing, half-pleas 1 d and half afraid, 
Thro' Sister Elms that wav'd their Summer-shade." 

Speghtj in his Glossary, says : Meritot, in Chaucer, a Sport used by Children 
by swinging themselves in Bell-ropes, or such like, till they are giddy. In 
Latin it is called Oscillum, and is thus described by an old Writer : " Oscillum 
est genus ludi, scilicet cum funis dependitur de Trabe, in quo pueri & puellas se- 
dentes impelluntur hue et illuc." 

In Mercurialis de Arte Gymnastica, p. 216. there is an engraving of this 


In Shakspeare's Anthony and Cleopatra, Act. i. sc. II. the antient puerile 
Sport called Muss is thus mentioned : 

Ant. " When I cry'd, Ho ! 

Like Boys unto a Muss, Kings would start forth, 
And cry, your Will !" 

Muss, a Scramble, so used by Ben Jonson, Magnetic Lad)', Act. iv. sc. 3. p. 44. 

So called iu the North of England. 

MUSS. 97 

Rabelais mentions a Muss among Gargantua's Games. Book i. cap. 22. And 
in another place, Book iii. cap. 40. 

" That the Game of the Musse is honest, healthful, ancient, and lawful ; a 
Muscho Inventore, de quo Cod. de petit. Ha?red. 1. Si post Motwn." See Grey's 
Notes on Shakesp. vol. ii. p. 208. 



The following are the Accounts of this Game given by the Commentators on 
Shakspeare, who has noticed it in the Midsummer Night's Dream, Act. ii. sc. 2. 
" The nine Men's Morris is fill'd up with mud." 

" In that part of Warwickshire where Shakspeare was educated, and the neigh- 
bouring parts of Northamptonshire, the shepherds and other boys dig up the 
turf with their knives to represent a sort of imperfect chess-board. It consists 
of a square, sometimes only a foot diameter, sometimes three or four yards. 
Within this is another square, every side of which is parallel to the external 
square ; and these squares are joined by lines drawn from each corner of botli 
squares, and the middle of each line. One party, or player, has wooden pegs, 
the other stones, which they move in such a manner as to take up each other's 
men, as they are called, and the area of the inner square is called the pound, 
in which the men taken up are impounded. These figures are by the country 
people called Nine Men's Morris, or Merrils; and are so called because each 
party has nine men. These figures are always cut upon the green turf, or leys, 
as they are called, or upon the grass at the end of ploughed lands, and in rainy 
seasons never fail to be choaked up with mud." FARMER. 

" Nine Men's Morris" is a Game still played by the shepherds, cow-keepers, 
&c. in the midland Counties, as follows : A figure (of squares, one within an- 
other,) is made on the ground by cutting out the turf; and two persons take each 



nine stones, which they place by turns in the angles, and afterwards move alter- 
nately, as at Chess or Draughts. He who can play three in a straight line may 
then take off any one of his adversary's, where he pleases, till one, having lost 
all his men, loses the game." ALCHORNE. 

" In Cotgravc's Dictionary, under the article Merelles, is the following ex- 
planation : " Le Jeu dcs Merelles. The Boyish Game called Merits, or Jive- 
penny Morris: played here most commonly with stones, but in France with 
pawns, or men made on purpose, and termed Merelles. These might origi- 
nally have been black, and hence call Morris, or Merelles, as we yet term a 
black cherry a morello, and a small black cherry a merry, perhaps from Mau- 
rus a Moor, or rather from Morum a Mulberry." TOLLET. 

"The Jeu de Merelles was also a Table-game. A representation of two 
monkies engaged at this amusement may be seen in a German edition of Pe- 
trarch dc Itcmedio utriusque Fortunae, B. i, ch. 26. The cuts to this book 
were done in 1520." DOUCE*. See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 1803, vol. iv. p. 358. 


I find the following in Herrick's Hesperides, p. 

* [The following is the account of this Game given by Mr. Douce in the Illustrations of Shak- 
speare, and of Ancient Manners, Svo. Lond. 1SO7, vol. i. p. 184. 

"This Game was sometimes called the Nine Men's Merrils, from Merelles, or Mereaux, an an- 
cient French word for the jettons, or counters, with which it was played. The other term, Mor- 
ris, is probably a corruption suggested by the sort of dance which, in the progress of the Game, 
the counters performed. In the French Merelles each party had three counters only, which were 
to be placed hi a line in order to win the game. It appears to have been the Tremerel mentioned 
in an old fabliau. See Le Grand, Fabliaux et Conies, torn. ii. p. 20S. 

" Dr. Hyde thinks the Morris, or Merrils, was known during the time that the Normans con- 
tinued in possession of England, and that the name was afterwards corrupted into Three Men's 
Morals, or Nine Men's Morals. If this be true, the conversion of Morrals into Morris, a term so 
very familiar to the country-people, was extremely natural. The Doctor adds, that it was like- 
wise called Nine-penny or Nine-pin Miracle, Three-penny Morris, Five-penny Morris, Nine-penny 
Morris, or Three-pin, Five-pin, and Nine-pin Morris, all corruptions of Three-pin, &c. Merels. Hyde 
Hist. Nederludii, p. 202." 

See also Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, p. 236.] 


Upon Kaspe. Epig. 

" Raspe playes at Nine-holes; and 'tis known he gets 
Many a teaster by his game, and bets : 
But of his gettings there's but little sign ; 
When one hole wastes more than lie gets by nine." 


Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty, in his curious work, intituled, "The 
Discovery of a most exquisite Jewel, found in the Kennel of Worcester Streets 
the Day after the Fight 1651," p. 237, in continuation of a passage which will 
presently be quoted under " Cards," says : " They may likewise be said to use 
their king as the players at Nine Pins do the middle kyle, which they call the 
king, at whose fall alone they aim, the sooner to obtain the gaining of their 

Poor Robin, in his Almanack for 16*95, in his Observations on the Spring 
Quarter, says : " In this Quarter are very much practised the commendable 
exercises of Nine-pins, Pigeon-holes, Stool-ball, and Barley-break, by reason 
Easter Holydays, Whitson Holydays, and May Day, do fall in this Quarter." 


In a most rare book, intituled, "The French Garden for English Ladies 
and Gentlewomen to walke in," &c. 8vo. Lond. 1621, Signal. N. 5. b. in a 
Dialogue the Lady says, " If one had Paille-mails, it were good to play in this 
alley, for it is of a reasonable good length, straight, and even." And a note in 
the margin informs us : "A Paille-Mal is a wooden hammer set to the end of a 
long staffe to strike a boule with, at which game noblemen and gentlemen in 
France doe play much." 

See more of this Game in Strutt's Sports and Pastimes, p. 82. 



Dr. Jamieson defines Pearie, "that instrument of play used by boys in Scot- 
land, which in England is called a peg-top. It seems to have been named from 
its exact resemblance to a pear. The humming-top of England is in Scotland 
denominated a French Pearie, probably as having been originally imported 
from France.] 


is mentioned as a Game in Flecknoe's Epigrams, p. : 
" And their lands to coyn they distil ye, 
And then v/ith the money 
You see how they run ye 
To loose it at Piccadilly." 

There was also a species of Ruff so called. 




called also 

A cheating Game, of which the following is a description : " A leathern Belt 
is made up into a number of intricate folds, and placed edgewise upon a table. 
One of the folds is made to resemble the middle of the Girdle, so that whoever 
shall thrust a skewer into it would think he held it fast to the table : whereas, 


when he has so done, the person with whom he plays may take hold of both 
ends and draw it away." It appears to have been a game much practised by 
the Gypsies in the time of Shakspeare. See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 8vo. Lond. 
1803. vol. xvii. p. 230. 

vulgarly called 


The Game of " the Country Base" is mentioned by Shakspeare in Cymbeline. 
Also in the tragedy of Hoffman, 1632 : 

"I'll run a little course 

At Base, or Barley-brake." 

Again, in the Antipodes, 1638 : 

" My men can run at Base." 
Again, in the thirtieth Song of Drayton's Polyolbion : 

" At Hood-wink, Barley-brake, at Tick, or Prison Base. 
See Reed's Shakspeare, vol. xviii. p. 604. 
Again, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, Book v. c. 8. 

" So ran they all as they had been at Bace," 


Misson, in his Travels in England, translated by Ozell, p. 231, says: "The 
English Nobility take great delight in Horse-Races. The most famous are 
usually at Newmarket ; and there you are sure to see a great many persons of 
the first quality, and almost all the gentlemen of the neighbourhood. It is pretty 
common for them to lay wagers of Two Thousand pounds sterling upon one race. 
I have seen a horse, that after having run twenty miles in fifty-five minutes, upon 
ground less even than that where the Races are run at Newmarket, and won 
the wager for his master, would have been able to run a-new without taking 
breath, if he that had lost durst have ventured again. There are also Races run 
by men." 

302 RACES. 

In Hinde's Life of Master John Bruen, a puritan of great celebrity, 8vo. 
Lond. 1641. p. 104. the author recommends "unto many of our Gentlemen, 
and to many of inferior rank, that they would make an exchange of their Foot 
Races and Horse Races" &c. 

of the 


Misson, in his Travels in England, p. 1 26. speaking of Hyde Park, " at the 
end of one of the suburbs of London," says : " Here the people of fashion take 
the diversion of the RING. In a pretty high place, which lies very open, they 
have surrounded a circumference of two or three hundred paces diameter with 
a sorry kind of ballustrade, or rather with poles placed upon stakes, but three 
foot from the ground ; and the Coaches drive round and round this. When 
they have turn'd for some time round one way, they face about and turn t'other : 
so rowls the World a ." 


There appears by the following passage to have been an antient Game called 
" Ruffe." " A swaggerer is one that plays at Ruffe, from whence he tooke the 
denomination of a Ruffyn," &c. from Characters at the end of " The House of 
Correction, or certayne Satyrical Epigrams, by J. H. Gent." 8vo. Lond. 1619. 

[In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xx. p. 433. Parish of Dunkeld, Perthshire, we 
have an account of another diversion with this name. " To prevent that intemperance," the wri- 
ter says, " to which social meetings in such situations are sometimes prone, they spend the even- 
ing in some public competition of dexterity or skill. Of these, Riding at the Ring (an amuse- 
ment of antient and warlike origin,) is the chief. Two perpendicular posts are erected on this 
occasion, with a cross-beam, from which is suspended a small ring : the competitors are on horse- 
back, each having a pointed rod in his hand ; and he who, at full gallop, passing betwixt the 
posts, carries away the ring on his rod, gains the prize."] 



This sport is still followed by Boys, and is alluded to by Shakspeare in his 
Midsummer Night's Dream in the line, 

" And the quaint Mazes in the wanton Green." 
See Reed's Shakspeare, 1803, vol. iv. p. 359- 


Hutton, in his History of the Roman Wall, 8vo. Lond. 1804. p. 104. after 
an account of the incessant irruptions upon each other's Lands between the 
Inhabitants of the English and Scottish Borders, in antient times, and before the 
Union of the two Kingdoms, observes, " The lively impression, however, of for- 
mer scenes, did not wear out with the practice ; for the Children of this clay, 
upon the English Border, keep up the remembrance by a common play called 
Scotch and English, or the Raid, i. e Inroad." 

" The Boys of the Village chuse two Captains out of their body, each nomi- 
nates, alternately, one out of the little tribe. They then divide into two parties, 
strip, and deposit their Clothes, called Wad, (from Weed) in two heaps, each 
upon their own ground, which is divided by a Stone, as a boundary between 
the two Kingdoms. Each then invades the other's territories : the English cry- 
ing ' Here's a leap into thy Land, dry- bellied Scot.' He who can, plunders the 
other side. If one is caught in the enemies jurisdiction, he becomes a prisoner, 
and cannot be released except by his own party. Thus onu side will sometimes 
take all the Men and property of the other*." 

* Our author appears to be mistaken in his Etymology when he derives Wad from Weed, a gar- 
ment. Had he consulted Lye (Junii Etymologicon), he would have found " Wad Scotidicunt pro 
WeAd pactum " and " Wedd" rendered " pactum, sponsio; A. S. peb est pignus vel pactum, ac 
peculiari acceptione pactum sponsalitium, vel dos." Hence our word Wedding for a Marriage. 



In Poor Robin's Almanack for 1677, in his Verses to the Reader, on the 
back of the Title-page, concerning the chief matters in his annual Volume, 
amon" many other articles of intelligence, our Star-gazer professes to shew 
" The time when School-boys should play at Scotch-hoppers." 


Gay describes the well-known sport of See-Saw thus: 

" Across the fallen Oak the plank I laid, 
And myself pois'd against the tott'ring Maid; 
High leap'd the plank, adown Buxoma fell," &c. 


Mr. Douce's MS Notes say : " They have a custom at Ashton under Line, 
on the sixteenth of April, of shooting the Black Lad on horseback. It is said 
to have arisen from there having been formerly a black Knight who resided in 
these parts, holding the people in vassalage, and using them with great 


Slide-Thrift, or Shove-Groat, is one of the Games prohibited by Statute, 33 

[This seems to be the same Game with that described by Dr. Jamieson, in his Etymological 
Dictionary, under the name of WADDS. In the Glossary to Sihbald's Chronicle of Scottish Poetry, 
JVadds is defined " A youthful Amusement, wherein much use is made of pledges." Wad, a 
pledge, says Dr. Jamieson, is the same with the vadium of Jower Latinity.] 


Hen. VIII. It has been already noticed from Rowland's Satyres, under 
" Drawing Dun out of the Mire." 

A Shove Groat Shilling is mentioned in Shakspeare's Second Part of King 
Henry the fourth, and is supposed by Mr. Steevens to have been a piece of 
polished Metal made use of in the play of Shovel-board. See Reed's edit, of 
Shaksp. 1803. vol. xii. p. 96 a . 


or Shovel Board, is still, or was very lately played. Mr. Douce, a few years 
ago, heard a Man ask another to go into an Ale-house in the Broad Sanctuary, 
Westminster, to play at it. See Reed's Shaksp. vol. v. p. 23. 

In honest Izaak Walton's time, a Shovel Board was probably to be found in 
every Public-house. 


is the name of a Game among Children at Newcastle upon Tyne. I suspect 
this is nearly the same with " Hide and Seek." " I spye is the usual exclama- 
tion at a childish Game called ' Hie, spy, hie'." 


Of this Sport among Children Dr. Jamieson gives the following account : 
" One, taking hold of another by the forelock of his hair, says to him, ' Topple, 
Tupple tousle, will ye be my man ?' If the other answers in the affirmative, the 
first says, ' Come to me then, come to me then;' giving him a smart pull towards 
him by the lock which he holds in his hand. If the one who is asked answers 
in the negative, the other gives him a push backward, saying, ' Gae fra me 
then, gae fra me then.' 

* [Mr. Douce, however, has shewn that Shove-Groat and Shovel-Board were different Games. 
Tbe former \vai invented in the reign of Henry the eighth, for in the Statute above alluded to 
it is called a new Game. It was also known by the several appellations of Slide-groat, Slide-board, 
Stidc-thi-ift, and Slip-thrift. See the lllustr. of Shaksp. and of Anc. Manners, vol. i. p. 454.] 


"The literal meaning of the terms is obvious. The person asked is called 
Tappie-tousie, q. dishevelled head, from Tap, and Tousle, q, v. It may be 
observed, however, that the Suio-Gothic tap signifies a lock or tuft of hair. 
Haertapp, floccus capillorum ; Ihre, p. 857. 

" But the thing that principally deserves our attention is the meaning of this 
play. Like some other childish sports, it evidently retains a singular vestige of 
very ancient manners. It indeed represents the mode in which one received 
another as his bondman. 

' The thride kind of nativitie, or bondage, is quhen ane frie man, to the end 
he may have the rnenteinance of ane great and potent man, randers himself to 
be his bond-man in his court, be the halre of his forehead ; and gif he there- 
after withdrawes hirnselfe, and flees away fra his maister, or denyes to him his 
nativitie : his maister may prove him to be his bond-man, be ane assise, before the 
Justice; challengand him, that he, sic ane day, sic ane yeare, compeirid in his 
court, and there yeilded himselfe to him to be his slave and bond-man. And 
quhen any Man is adjudged and decerned to be native or bond-man to any 
maister; the maister may take him be the nose, and reduce him to his former 
slaverie.' Quon. Attach, c. Ivi. s. 7- 

" This form, of rendering one's self by the hair of the head, seems to have 
had a monkish origin. The heathenish rite of consecrating the hair, or shaving 
the head, -was early adopted among Christians, either as an act of pretended 
devotion, or when a person dedicated himself to some particular Saint, or en- 
tered into any religious order. Hence it seems to have been adopted as a civil 
token of servitude. Thus those who entered into the monastic life, were said 
capillos ponere, and per capillos se tradere. In the fifth century Clovis com- 
mitted himself to St. Germer by the hair of his head; Vit. S. Germer. ap. 
Carpentier, vo. Capilli. Those who thus devoted themselves were called the 
servants of God, or of any particular Saint. 

" This then being used as a symbol of servitude, we perceive the reason why 
it came to be viewed as so great an indignity to be laid hold of by the hair. 
He, who did so, claimed the person as his property. Therefore, to seize, or to 
drag one by the hair, comprehendere, or trahere per capillos, was accounted 
an offence equal to that of charging another with falsehood, and even with 


striking him. The offender, according to the Frisic laws, was fined in two 
Shillings ; according to those of Burgundy, also, in two ; but if both hands were 
employed, in four. Leg. Fris. ap Lindenbrog. Tit. xxii. s. 64. Leg. Burgund. 
Tit. v. s. 4. According to the laws of Saxony, the fine amounted to an hun- 
dred and twenty shillings ; Leg. Sax. cap. i. s. 7. ibid. Some other statutes 
made it punishable by Death ; Du Cange, col. 243.] 


In Hall's Horae Vacivas, 12mo. Lond. 1646. are the following observations 
on the Game of Tick-Tack. " Tick-Tack sets a Man's intentions on their 
guard. Errors in this and War can be but once amended." p. 149. a 


Grose says this was an antient Game, like Scotch Hop, played on a pave- 
ment, marked out with Chalk into different Compartments. 


Shooting with Bows and Arrows, and Swimming on Bladders, occur among 
the puerile Sports delineated in the Illuminations of the curious Missal cited by 
Mr. Strutt. 

The Hoop is also noticed by Charlotte Smith in her Rural \A r alks : 
" Sweet age of blest delusion! blooming Boys, 
Ah! revel long in Childhood's thoughtless joys; 

a He mentions, ibid, another Game called Irish. " The Inconstancy of Irish fitly represents 
the Changeablenesse of humane Occurrences, since it ever stands so fickle that one malignant 
Throw can quite ruine a never so well built Game. Art hath here a great sway, by reason if one 
cannot well stand the first assault, hee may safely retire back to an after Game." 

Ibid. p. 144. he observes, " Skittle Cock requires a nimble arme, with a quicke and waking eye ; 
'twere fit for Students, and not so vehement as that waving of a Stoole, so commended by 


With light and pliant spirits, that can stoop 

To follow, sportively, the rolling Hoop ,- 

To watch the sleeping Top, with gay delight, 

Or mark, with raptur'd gaze, the sailing Kite": 

Or eagerly pursuing Pleasure's call, 

Can find it center'd in the bounding Ball!' 1 


In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. iii. Svo. Eclinb. 
17i)2. p. 512. the Minister of Kincardine, Counties of Ross and Cromartie, 
says : " Nigh to the Church there is an Alley, walled in, and terminating in a 
large Semi-circle, appropriated to that antient military exercise and discipline 
known by the name oi Weapon-Showing" 


It is said in some of the Voyages, I think it is in Hawkesworth's, that the Top 
is well known among the Indians, some of whom pointed to our Sailors, who 
seemed to wonder at seeing it amongst them, that in order to make it spin they 
should lash it with a Whip. 

The following mention of Whipping the Top occurs in Persius's third Satire ; 
" Neu quis callidior buxum torquere flagello." 

" The whirling Top they whip, 

And drive her giddy till she fall asleep." 

Thus also in Virgil's seventh jEneid, 1. 378. 

" Ceu quondam torto volitans sub verb ere Turbo, ' 
Quern pueri magno in gyro vacua atria circum 
Intend ludo exercent. Ille actus habena, 
Curvatis fertur spatiis : stupet inscia turba, 
Impubesque manus, mirata volubile buxum : 
Dant animos plagae." 

Paper Windmill* are seen in the hands of the younger sort of Children in Mr. Ives's Missal. 


" As young Striplings whip the Top for sport, 
On the smooth pavement of an empty Court; 
The wooden Engine whirls and flies about, 
Admir'd with clamours of the beardless Rout. 
They lash aloud, each other they provoke, 
And lend their little sonls at Cv'ry stroke." 


Northbrooke, in his "Treatise against Dicing," &c. 4to. Lond. 1579- p. 86. 
says: " Cato giveth counsel! to all Youth, saying: ' Trocho hide, aleas fuge,' 
playe with the Toppe and flee Dice-playing a ." 

Playing with Tops is found among the Illuminations of an old Missal in the 
possession of John Ives, Esq. described by Mr. Strutt in his Manners and Cus- 
toms of Children, English IEx&, vol. ii. p. 99. 

To sleep like a Town Top is a proverbial expression. A Top is said to sleep 
when it turns round with great velocity, and makes a smooth humming noise. 
The following Custom is now laid aside; a large Top was formerly kept in every 
Village, to be whipped in frosty weather, that the Peasants might be kept warm 
by exercise, and out of mischief, while they could not work. See Reed's 
Shaksp. 1805. vol. v. p. 248 b . 

In "The Fifteen Comforts of Marriage," p. 143. we read: "Another tells 
'ein of a project he has to make Town Tops spin without an Eel-skin, as if 
he bore malice to the School-boys." 

So in the English Translation of Levinus Lcmnius, fol. Lond. 1658. p. 36'$. 
" Young youth do merrily exercise themselves in Whipping Top, and to make it 

* Cornelius Scriblerus, in his Instructions concerning the Plays and Play-things to be used by 
his son Martin, says : " I would not have Martin as yet to scourge a Top, till I am better informed 
whether the Trochus which was recommended by Cato be really our present Top, or rather the 
lloop which the Boys drive with a stick." Pope's Works, vol. vi. p. 1 ] 5. 

b In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xxi. 8vo. Edinb. 1799. p. 145. Parish of Mon- 
quhitter. Under " Amusements," we are told : " People who are not regularly and profitably em- 
ployed, rejoice in a holiday as the means of thowing off that languor which oppresses the mind, 
and of exerting their active powers. So it was with our Fathefs. They frequently met to exert 
their strength in Wrestling, in Casting the Hammer, and in Throwing the Stone, their agility at 
Foot-Ball, and their dexterity at Coits and Penny-Stone." 


run swiftly about, that it cannot be seen, and will deceive the sight, and that in 
Winter to catch themselves a heat." 

Poor Robin, in his Almanack for 1677, tells us, in "The Fanatick's Chrono- 
logy," it was then " 1804 years since the first invention of Town-Tops." 


Misson, in his Travels, p. 306. says : " Wrestling is one of the diversions of 
the English, especially in the Northern Counties c ." 

c [The curious in this Sport may consult '" npOITMNAZMATA. The Inn-Play : or Cornish- 
Hugg Wrestler. Digested in a method which teacheth to break all Holds, and throw most Falls 
mathematically. By Sir Thomas Parkyns, of Bunny, Baronet." "2d edit. 4to. 'Nottingh, 1717.' 
Prefixed to this Work are " Institutes for young Wrestlers," by William Tunstall.] ' 

In " The French Garden for English Ladies and Gentlewomen," Svo. Lond. 1621. Signal. P. 
6 b. the Titles of the following Games occur: " Trompe Dice Tables Lurch Draughts 
Perforce Pleasant Blowing Queen's Game Chesse." There is added : "The Maydens did 
play at Purposes at Saks to thinks at Wonders at States at Verlues at Answers, so that 
we could come no sooner, &c." 

In the Dedication to Michael Mumchance, 4to. Lond. 6. 1. (date cut off,) we read, " making the 
divel to daunce in the bottome of your purses, and to turne your Angels out of their houses like 
bad Tenants." Ibid. " Novum, Uassard, and Swift-foot-passagc, occur as Games." 

In the Instructions of Cornelius Scriblerus concerning the Plays and Playthings to be used by 
his son Martin, are a few Remarks on the Toys and minor Sports of Children, which it may not 
be irrelevant to notice. 

Play, he observes, was invented as a remedy against Hunger. " It is therefore wisely contrived 
by Nature, that Children as they have the keenest Appetites, are most addicted to Plays.'" 

" To speak first of the Whistle, as it is the first of all Play-things. I will have it exactly to 
correspond with the ancient Fistula, and accordingly to be composed septem paribus disjuncla 

" I heartily wish a diligent search may be made after the true Crepitaculum, or Rattle of the An- 
cients, for that (as Archytas Terentinus was of opinion,) kept the Cliildrcn from breaking Earthen- 
ware. The China cups in these days are not at all the safer for the modern Rattles : which is an 

evident proof how for their Crepitacula exceeded ours." 


" Julius Pollux describes the Omilla, or Chuck-farthing; tho' some will have our modern Chuck*:., 
farthing to be nearer the Aphetinda of the Ancients. He also mentions the Basilinda, or King I 
am ; and Myinda, or Hoopers-hide. 



' y.ifi f I.Kt v^tn wl 1" ' 


' isj mor) Ji:-.!ivo ,-' . j; v <!f?'<; ?,.A'i\>u<--' 


IN some parts of the North of England a Pack of Cards is called to this day, 
as it is in Shakspeare's Plays, a Deck of Cards. 

" But the Chytindra described by the same author is certainly not our Hot-cockle ; for that was 
by pinching and not by striking; tho' there are good authors who affirm the Rathapysismus to be 
yet nearer the modern Hot-cockles. My son Martin may use either of them indifferently, they 
being equally antique. 

" Building of Houses, and Riding upon Slicks, have been used by Children in all ages ; sErtifi- 
care casas, equitare in anmdine longa. Yet I much doubt whether the riding upon Sticks did not 
come into use after the Age of the Centaurs. 

" There is one Play which shews the gravity of ancient Education, called the Acinetinda, in 
which Children contended .who could longest stand still. This we have suffered to perish entirely} 
and if I might be allowed to guess,, it was certainly first lost among the French. 

" I will permit my Son to play at Apodidascinda, which can be no other than our Puss in a 
Corner *. 

* The humourous Essayist in the Gent. Mag. vol. viii. for Feb. 1738. already quoted, says, p. 80. that before 
the Troubles, (in the grand Rebellion,) ' Crosi-Ptirposes was the Game played at by Children of all parties. 
Upon Xhe death of Charles I. the ridieule of the times turned against Monarchy; which during the Common- 
wealth was burlesqued by every Child in Great Britain, who set himself up in mock Majesty, and played at 
Questions and Commands; as, for instance, King 1 am, says one Boy; another answers, lam your Man; then 
his Majesty demands, What Service he will do him; to which the obsequious Courtier replies, the best and worst, 
and all I can. During all Oliver's time, the chief Diversion was, the Parson hath, lost his fudling Cap : which 
needs no explanation. At the Restoration succeeded Love- Games, as I love my I^ove with an A: a flower and 
a Lady; and / am a lusty wooer, changed in the latter end of this reign, as well as all King James lid's to 
' I am come to torment you.' At the Revolution, when all people recovered their liberty, the Children played 
promiscuously at what Game they liked best the most favourite one, however, was Puis in the Corner. Every 
body knows that in this play, four Boys or Girls post themselves at the four corners of a Room, and a fifth in 
the middle, who keeps himself upon the watch to slip into one of thi; corner places, whilst the present posses- 
sors are endeavouring to supplant one another. This was intended to ridicule the scrambling for places too 
much in fashion amongst the Children of England, both spiritual and temporal." 

The same writer tells us that " in Queen Mary's reign, Tag was all the play : where the Lad saves himself by 
touching of cold Iron by this it was intended to shew the severity of the Church of Rome. In later times this 
Play has been altered amongst Children of quality, by touching of Cold instead of Iron," He adds, " Queen 


In the Gentleman's Magazine for January 1791, vol. Ixi. p. 16. are several 
Queries on Cards. The writer informs us that " the common people in a great 
part of Yorkshire, invariably call Diamonds Picks. This I take," he says, "to 

"Julius Pollux, in his ninth Book, speaks of the Melolonthe, or the Kite; but I question whe- 
ther the Kite of antiquity was the same with ours : and though the Ofrv'wmia., or Quail-fighting, 
is what is most taken notice of, they had doubtless Cock-matches also, as is evident from certain 
anlicnt Gems and Relievo's. 

" In a word, let my sou Martin disport himself at any Game truly antique, except one which 
was invented by a People among the Thracians, who hung up one of their Companions in a Rope, 
and gave him a Knife to cut himself down; which if he failed in, he was suffered to hang till he 
was dead ; and this was only reckoned a sort of joke. I am utterly against this as barbarous and 
cruel." See Pope's Works, vol. vi. pp. 114. 115. 

Dr. Arbuthnot, it is observed in a Note, used to say, that notwithstanding all the boasts of the 
safe conveyance of Tradition, it was no where preserved pure and uncorrupt but amongst School- 
boys; whose Games and Plays are delivered down invariably the same from one generation to 

Elizabeth herself is believed to have invented the Play I am a Spanish Merchant ; and Burleigb's Children were 
the first who played at it. In this Play, if any one offers to sale what he bath not his hand upon or touches, 
lie forfeits, meant as an instruction to Traders not to give credit to the Spaniards. The Play of Commerce 
succeeded, and was in fashion during all her reign." 

Strutt, in his Manners and Customs, vol. iii. p. 147. gives us, from a MS. in the Hart. Library, 2057, an 
enumeration of " Auntient Customs in Games used by Boys and Girles, merrily sett out in verse." 
" Any they dare chalenge for to throw the sledge, 

To jumpe, or Icape over ditch, or hedge ; 

To wrastle, play at stoole ball, or to runne, 

To jiich the Barre, or to shoot of a gunne j 

To play at Loggets, Nine Holes, or Ten Pinnes, 

To try it out at Foote-ball, by the shinnes ; 

At Tick-Taeke, Seize Nody, Maw, and Ruffe, 

At Hot-Cokles, Leape-frogge, or Blind-man's Buffe: 

To drink the halper Pottes, or deale at the whola Cann, 

To play at Chesse, or Pue, and Inke home, 

To daunce the Moris, play at Barley brake, 

At all exploits a man can think or speak : 

At Shove Groate, Venter poynte, or Cross and Pile, 

At beshrew him that's last at any stile; 

At leapinge over a Christinas bonfire, 

Or at the drawing Dame out of tiie Myer ; 

0-<! " ' .) ^.ll-Ml-lfblt. 

At Shoote eocke, Gregory, Stoole ball, and what not ; 
Picke poynt, Toppe and Scourge to make him hott." 

Three of these Lines with a different reading have been already quoted (p. 290) from Mr. StCfvens's Notes on 


be from the French word piques, spades ; but cannot account for its being cor- 
ruptly applied by them to the other suit." The true reason however is to be 
gathered from the resemblance the Diamond bears to a Mill-pick, as Fusils are 
sometimes called in Heraldry. 

John Hall, in his Horse Vacivae, 12mo, Lond. 1646. p. 150. says: "For 
Gardes, the Philologie of them is not for an essay. A Man's fancy would be 
sum'd up in Cribbidge ; Gleeke* requires a vigilant memory; Maw, a preg- 
nant agility; Picket, a various invention ; Primero, a dextrous kinde of rash- 
nesse, &c." 

Sir Thomas Urquhart, of Cromarty, in " The Discovery of a most exquisite 
Jewel found in the Kennel of Worcester Streets, the Day after the fight, 1651." 
p. 237. says, " Verily, I think they make use of Kings, as we do of Card-Kings 
in playing at the Hundred; any one whereof, if there be appearance of a better 
Game without him, (and that the exchange of him for another incoming Card 
is like to conduce more for drawing of the Stake,) is by good Gamesters with- 
out any ceremony discarded b ." 

Macham has been incidentally noticed as an Irish Game at Cards in a former 
section c . 


GROSE mentions among the Sports of Sailors the following : 
"AMBASSADOR. A trick to duck some ignorant fellow or landsman, fre- 
quently played on board ships in the warm latitudes. It is thus managed : a 

" " A Lady once requesting a Gentleman to play at Gleeke, was refused, but civilly, and upon 
three reasons ; the first whereof, Madam, said the Gentleman, is, I have no money. Her Lady- 
ship knew that was so materiall and sufficient, that she desired him to keep the other two reasons 
to himself." Gayton's Festivous Notes upon Don Quixote, fol. 1654. p. 14. 
b The following is in Herrick's Hesperides, p. "281. 

" Upon Tuck, Epigr. 
At Post and Poire, or Slam, Tom Tuck would play 

This Christ mass, but his want wherewith saves Nay." 
' See p. 141. 



large tub is filled with water, and two stools placed on each side of it. Over 
the whole is thrown a tarpawlin, or old sail : this is kept tight by two persons, 
who are to represent the King and Queen of a foreign country, and are seated 
on the stools. The person intended to be ducked plays the Ambassador, and 
after repeating a ridiculous speech dictated to him, is led in great form up to 
the Throne, and seated between the King and Queen, who rising suddenly as 
soon as he is seated, he falls backwards into the tub of water." 

He notices another Game in the subsequent words : 

"ARTHUR. KING ARTHUR. A Game used at Sea, when near the Line, 
or in a hot latitude. It is performed thus : a Man who is to represent King 
Arthur, ridiculously dressed, having a large wig, made out of oakum, or some 
old swabs, is seated on the side, or over a large vessel of water. Every person 
in his turn is to be ceremoniously introduced to him, and to pour a bucket of 
water over him, crying, Hail, King Arthur! If, during this ceremony, the 
person introduced laughs or smiles, (to which his Majesty endeavours to excite 
him, by all sorts of ridiculous gesticulations,) he changes place with, and then 
becomes King Arthur, till relieved by some brother Tar, who has as little com- 
mand over his muscles as himself." 

And a third Game, as follows : 

" HOOP. To run the hoop ; an ancient marine custom. Four or more boys, 
having their left hands tied fast to an iron hoop, and each of them a rope, 
called a nettle, in their right, being naked to the waist, wait the signal to begin ; 
this being made by a stroke with a cat of nine tails, given by the boatswain to 
one of the boys, he strikes the boy before him, and every one does the same. 
At first the blows are but gently administered ; but each, irritated by the strokes 
from the boy behind him, at length lays it on in earnest. This was anciently 
practised when a ship was wind-bound a ." 

* See Grose's Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. In another part of his Dictionary 
Grose has given us the definition of " Cos, or COBBING ; a punishment used by the Seamen for 
petty offences, or irregularities, among themselves : it consists in bastonadoing the offender on the 
posteriors with a cobbing stick, or pipe staffj the number usually inflicted is a dozen. At the 
first stroke the executioner repeats the word watch, on which all persons present are to take off 
their hats, on pain of like punishment : the last stroke is always given as hard as possible, and is 
called the Purse. Ashore, among Soldiers, where this punishment is sometimes adopted, Watch 


A Fair is a greater kind of Market, granted to any Town by privilege, for 

the more speedy and commodious providing of such things as the Place stands 
. i / 
in need of. 

Fairs are generally kept once or twice in a year. Proclamation is to be made 
how long they are to continue, and no person is allowed to sell any Goods after 
the time of the Fair is ended, on forfeiture of dbuble their value. 

Warton tells us, that before flourishing' Towns were established, and the 
necessaries of life, from the convenience of communication and the increase of 
provincial civility, could be procured in various places, Goods and Commodities 
of every kind were chiefly sold at Fairs: to these, as to one universal Mart, the 
people resorted periodically, and supplied most of their wants for the ensuing 
year a . 

and the Purse are not included in the number, but given over and above, or, in the vulgar phrase, 
free gratis for nothing. This piece of discipline is also inflicted in Ireland, by the School-boys on 
persons coming into the School without taking off their hatsj it is there called School-butter." 
" Gay's account of the different Articles exposed at Fairs is a pleasant one : 
" How Pedlars' Stalls with glitt'ring Toys are laid, 

The various Fairings of the Country Maid, 

Long silken Laces hang upon the twine, 

And rows of Pins and amber Bracelets shine. 

Here the tight Lass, Knives, Combs and Scissars spies; 

And looks on Thimbles with desiring eyes. 

The Mountebank now treads the Stage, and sells 

His Pills, his Balsams, and his Ague-Spells ; 

Now o'er and o'er the nimble Tumbler springs, 

And on the rope the vent'rous Maiden swings ; 

Jack Pudding, in his party-colour'd jacket, 

'* ,., , > V: : !. !i !.; <V V ; ;i fy< .. 

Tosses the Glove, and jokes at every Packet ; 
Here Raree-Shows are seen, and Punch's feats, 
And Pockets pick'd in Crouds, and various Cheats." 


316' FAIRS. 

The display of merchandize and the conflux of customers, at these principal 
and almost only einporia of domestic commerce, were prodigious : and they 
were therefore often held on open and extensive plains. 

In Poems by the Rev. Henry Rowe, LL.B. Rector of Ringshall in Suffolk, 8vo. Lond. 179(5. 
vol. i. p. 115. is another Description of a rustic Fair : 

" Next morn, I ween, the Village charter'd Fair, 
A day that's ne'er forgot throughout the Year: 
Soon as the Lark expands her auburn fan, 
Foretelling day, before the day began, 
Then ' Jehu Ball' re-echoes down the Lane, 
Crack goes the Whip, and rattling sounds the Chain. 
With tinkling Bells the stately Beast grown proud, 
Champs on the Bit, and neighing roars aloud. 
The Bridles dotted o'er with many a Flow'r, 
The six-team'd Waggon forms a leafy bow'r. 
Young Damon whistled to Dorinda's Song, 
The Fiddle tuneful play'd the time along. 
At length arriv'd, the Statute fills the Fait, 
Dorcas and Lydia, Bella too was there : 
Favours and Gauzes, variegated gay, 
Punch loudly squeaks, the Drum proclaims the Play. 
The Pole high rear'd, the Dance, the Gambol shew'd 
Mirth and Diversion to the gaping Crowd : 
Sam with broad smile, and Poll with dimpled face, 
Revers'd the Apron*, shews she wants a place. 
The Race in Sacks, the Quoit, the circling Reel, 
While Prue more thoughtful buys a spinning Wheel. 
The grinning Andrew, perch'd on Folly's Stool, 
Proves th' artificial, not the natural Fool : 
For Hodge declares he thinks, devoid of Art, 
He must be wise, who acts so well his part !" 

Sir Frederick Morton Eden, Bart, in his " State of the Poor," 4to. Lond. 1797. vol. i. p. 32. tells 
us in a Note : " In Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, and Berkshire, Servants continue to 
attend the Mopp or Statute, as it is called, (i. c. Michaelmas Fair,) in order to be hired. Each 
person has a Badge, or external Mark, expressive of his occupation. A Carter exhibits a piece of 
Whip-cord tied to his Hat : a Cow-herd has a lock of Cow-hair in his : and the Dairy-Maid has 
the same descriptive mark attached to her breast. So in the North of England, at the Spring 
hiring-terru, the Servants to be hired, who are almost always persons to be employed in husbandry, 
" RtTers'd the Apron," a whimsical Custom at a Country Fair. 

FAIRS. 31? 

One of the chief of them was that of St. Giles's Hill or Down, near Winches- 
ter : the Conqueror instituted and gave it as a kind of revenue to the Bishop of 
Winchester. It was at first for three days, but afterwards, hy Henry the third, 
prolonged to sixteen days. Its jurisdiction extended seven miles round, and 
comprehended even Southampton, then a Capital and trading Town. Mer- 
chants who sold wares at that time within that circuit forfeited them to the 
Bishop. Officers were placed at a considerable distance, at Bridges and other 
avenues of access to the Fair, to exact Toll of all merchandize passing that way. 
In the mean time, all Shops in the City of Winchester were shut. A Court, 
called the Pavillion, composed of the Bishop's Justiciaries and other Officers, 
had power to try causes of various sorts for seven miles round. The Bishop 
had a Toll of every load or parcel of Goods passing through the Gates of the 
City. On St. Giles's Eve the Mayor, bailiffs, and citizens of Winchester, deli- 
vered the Keys of the four Gates to the Bishop's Officers. Many and extraordi- 

are to be distinguished from others, who attend the market, by their wearing a large Posie, or 
Bouquet of flowers at their breasts : which is no unapt emblem of their calling *. Even in Lon- 
don, Bricklayers, and other House-labourers, carry their respective implements to the places 
where they stand for hire : for which purpose they assemble in great numbers in Cheapside and at 
Charing-Cross, every morning, at five or six o'clock. So, in old Rome, there weie particular spots 
in which Servants applied for hire. ' InTusco vico, ibi sunt Homines qui ipsi se venditent.' Plauti 
Curculio. Act iv." 

Dr. Plott, speaking of the Statutes for hiring Servants, says, that at Banbury they called them 
the Mop. He says that at Bloxham the Carters stood with their Whips in one place, and the 
Shepherds with their Crooks in another ; but the Maids, as far as he could observe, stood pro- 
miscuously. He adds that this custom seems as old as our Saviour, and refers to Matth. xx. 3. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xxi. p. 457. Parish of Wamphray, we read : " Hiring 
Fairs are much frequented : those who are to hire wear a green Sprig in their Hat : and it is very 
seldom that Servants will hire in any other place." 

* The following is from Flecknoe's Epigrams, p. 74. 

" As Horse-Coursers their Horses set to sale, 
fftth Ribands on their foreheads and their tail: 
So all our Poets' Gallantry now-a-days 
Is in the Prologues and Epilogues of their Plays." 

The author of " The Character of a Quack Astrologer," <to. Lond. 1 673. Signal. C. 3. speaking of " Itch of 
picture in the Front," says : " This sets off the Pamphlet in a Country Fair, as the Horse sells the belter for th 
ribbon, wherewith a Jockey tyes up bis Tail." 

The custom of attaching Brooms to the mast-heads of Ships, or other vessels, en salt, (enquired after in th 
Cent. Mag. for August 1799. p. 653.) has been before noticed. See p. 247. 

318 FAIRS. 

nary were the privileges granted to the Bishop on this occasion, all tending to 
obstruct Trade and to oppress the people. Numerous foreign merchants fre- 
quented this Fair ; and several Streets were formed in it, assigned to the sale of 
different commodities. The surrounding Monasteries had Shops or Houses in 
these Streets, used only at the Fair ; which they held under the Bishop, and often 
lett by lease for a term of years. Different Counties had their different stations 15 . 

It appears from a curious Record now remaining, containing the establish- 
ment and expences of the Household of Henry Percy, the fifth Earl of North- 
umberland, A. D. 15 J 2. and printed by Dr. Percy , that the stores of his Lord- 
ship's House at Wresille, for the whole year, were laid in from Fairs d . 

In the Accounts of the Priories of Maxtoke in Warwickshire, and of Bicester 
in Oxfordshire, in the time of Henry the sixth, the Monks appear to have laid 
in yearly stores of various, yet common necessaries, at the Fair of Sturbridge e 
in Cambridgeshire, at least one hundred miles distant from either Monastery. 

It may seem surprizing that their own neighbourhood, including the Cities of 
Oxford and Coventry, could not supply them with commodities neither rare nor 
costly : which they thus fetched at a considerable expence of carriage. It 
is a Kubrick in some of the Monastic Rules, " De euntibus ad Nundinas ;" i. e. 
concerning those who go to fairs f . 

b In the Revenue Roll of William of Waynflete, An. 1471. this Fair appears to have greatly de- 
cayed ; in which, among other proofs, a district of the Fair is mentioned as being unoccupied : 
" Ubi Homines Cornubise stare solebant." 

c The late Bishop of Dromore, in Ireland. 

A The Articles are " Wine, Wax, Beiffes, Multons, Wheite, & Malt." This proves that Fairs 
still continued to be the principal Marts for purchasing Necessaries in large quantities, which now 
are supplied by frequent Trading Towns : and the mention of Beiffes and Multons, (which are 
salted Oxen and Sheep,) shews that at so late a period they knew little of breeding Cattle. 

* " Expositas late Cami prope" Flumina merces, 

Divitiasque loci, vicosque, hominumque labores, 
Sparsaque per virides passim magalia campos." 

Nundinse Sturbrigienses. 

John Bale, in his " Declaration of Bonner's Articles," fol. 21 b. mentions " the Baker's Boye's 
crye, betwixte hyg two Bread Pauners in Sturbridge fayre. By and beare aicaye, steale and runne 
aicrtye, &c." 

1 Sec Warton's History of Eng. Poet. vol. i. p. 279. 

Fosbrooke, in his British Monachism, vol. ii. p. 217. tells us, " much quarrelling and fighting 

FAIRS. 319 

Two annual Fairs held on the Town Moor at Newcastle upon Tyne are called 
Lammas and St. Luke's Fairs, from the days on which they begin. Bourne, in 
his History of that Town, tells us, that the Tolls, Booths, Stallage, Pickage e, 
and Courts of Pie Powder (dusty foot) to each of these Fairs, were reckoned 
communibus annis, at twelve pounds, in the time of Oliver Cromwell. The 
Records of the Monasteries there are many of them lost, otherwise they would 
doubtless have furnished some particulars relative to the Institution and antient 
Customs of the Fairs at that place. 

Bailey tells us, that in antient times amongst Christians, upon any extraordi- 
nary solemnity, particularly the Anniversary Dedication of a Church h , Trades- 
men used to bring and sell their Wares even in the Church-yards, especially 
upon the Festival of the Dedication; as at Westminster, on St. Peter's Day; 

sometimes attended the monastic Fairs, held in the Church-yard : and Dr. Henry, vol. iv. p. 205, 
(where much is said upon these Fairs,) observes from Muratori, that, " When a Fair was held within 
the precincts of a Cathedral or Monastery, it was not uncommon to oblige every Man to take an 
oath at the gate, before he was admitted, that he would neither lie, nor steal, nor cheat, while 
he continued in the Fair." 

In Coates's History of Reading, 4to. 1802. p. 214. in the Churchwardens' Accounts of St. Lau- 
rence parish, A. D. 1499. is the following article : 

" Receypt. 
" It. Rec. at the Payer for a stonding in the Church-Porch, iiijd." 

By Advertisements partly for due order in the publique administration of Common Prayers, &c. 
by Queen Elizabeth's Letters commanding the same, dated 25 Jan. 7 Eliz. it was enjoined, " that 
in all Faires and Common Markets, falling uppon the Sunday, there be no shewing of any Wares 
before the Service be done." 4to. Signat. B 1. impr. at London, by Reginald Wolfe. 

S Pitching-Pence were paid in Fairs and Markets for eveiy Bag of Corn, &c. See Cole's 

h Thus, in Du Cange's Glossary, " Fescum, Nundinae quae in Festis Patronorum vulgo fiunt." 

Bishop Kennett, in the Glossary to his Parochial Antiquities, tells us, v. YERIJE. that from the 
solemn Feasting at Wakes and Fairs came the word fare, provision, good fare, to fare well. 

Hospinian de Orig. Festor. Christian, fol. 161. speaking of Wakes, observes : " Accessit etiam 
Mercatus, ut circa Templa, nee non in Templis et Coemeteriis Forum rerum venalium videas *." 

* Gibbon, in bit Decline and Fail of the Roman Empire, vol. x. p. 377. ed. 1790. tells us that on account of 
the frequent Pilgrimages to Jerusalem between the seventh and eleventh Centuries, an annual Fair was insti- 
tuted on Mount Calvary. 

The antient Northern Nations held annual Ice Fairs. See Olani Magnus. We too have heard of Ice Fairs 
on the River Thames. 

320 FAIRS. 

at London, on St. Bartholomew 1 ; at Durham, on St. Cuthbert's Day; &c. 

i There is a curious Tract in my possession, entitled " Bartholomew Faire," 4to. 1641. stating 
that " Bartholomew Faire begins on the twenty-fourth day of August, and is then of so vast an 
extent, that it is contained in no lesse than four several parishes, namely Christ Church, Great 
and Little St. Bartholomewes, and St, Sepulchres. Hither resort people of all sorts and condi- 
tions. Christ Church Cloisters are now hung full of pictures. It is remarkable and worth your 
observation to beholde and heare the strange sights and confused noise in the Faire. Here, a 
Knave in a Foole's Coate, witli a trumpet sounding, or on a drumme beating, invites you to see 
hii puppets : there, a rogue like a wild woodman, or in an antick shape like an Incubus, desires 
your company to view his motion : on the other side, Hocus Pocus, with three yards of Tape, or 
Ribbin, ill's hand, shewing his Art of Legerdemaine, to the admiration and astonishment of a 
company of Cockoloaches. Amongst these, you shall see a gray Goose-Cap, (as wise as the rest,) 
with a what do ye lacke, in his mouth, stand in his boothe, shaking a Rattle, or scraping on a 
Fiddle, with which Children are so taken, that they presentlie cry out for these fopperies : and all 
these together make such a distracted noise, that you would thinck Babell were not comparable 
to it. Here there are also your Gamesters in action : some turning of a Whimsey, others throw- 
ing for pewter, who can quickly dissolve a round Shilling into a Three Halfepeny Saucer. Long 
Lane at this time looks very faire, and puts out her best cloaths, with the wrong side outward, so 
turn'd for their better turning off : and Cloth Faire is now in great request: well fare the Ale- 
houses therein, yet better may a Man fare, (but at a dearer rate,) in the Pig-Market, alias Pasty- 
Nooke, or Pye-Corner, where Pigges are al houres of the Day on the Stalls piping hot, and 
would cry, (if they could speak,) ' come eate me.' The fat greasy Hostesse in these Houses in- 
structs Nick Froth, her Tapster, to aske a Shilling more for a pig's head of a Woman big with 
Child, in regard of her longing, then of another ordinary cumer." P. 5. " Some of your Cut- 
purses are in fee with cheating Costermongers, who have a Trick, now and then, to throw downc 
a Basket of refuge peares, which prove Choake-peares to those that shall loose their HaU or 
Cloaks in striving who shall gather fastest. 

Now farewell to the Faire : you who are wise, 
Preserve your Purses, whilst you please your Eyes." 

See also Andrews's Contin. of Henry's Hist, of Great Britain, 4to. p. 8G. 

In " Whimzies, or a new Cast of Characters," 12mo. Lond. 1631. p. 200. describing " a zealous 
Brother," the author says : " No season through all the yeare accounts hee more subject to abho- 
mination than Bartholomew Faire : their Drums, Hobbi-horses, Rattles, Babies, Jew-Trumps, nay 
Pigs and all, are wholly Judaicall." The roasted Pigs at St. Bartholomew's Fair are also noticed 
in Poor Robin's Almanack for 1677 * 

* Poor Robin, for 1695, has this passage: "it also tells Farmers what manner of Wife they shall choose, not 
one trickt up with liillcns and Knots like a Bartholomew J'iaby, for such an one will prove a Holy-day Wife, all 

play and no work, 

And he who with such kind of Wife is sped, 

Better to have one made of Ginger-Bead." 

FAIRS, 321 

but Riots and Disturbances often happening, by reason of the numbers assem- 
bled together, privileges were by Royal Charter granted, for various causes, to 
particular Places, Towns, and places of strength, where Magistrates presided to 
keep the people in order. 

In Nabbe's Comedy called Totenham Court, 4to. Lond. 1638. p. 47. is the following : " I have 
packed her up iu't like a Bartholmew Bable in a Boxe. I warrant you for hurting her." 
Gayton, in his Art of Longevity, 4to. 1659. p. 3. says : 

" (As if there were not pigg enough) 
Old Bartholmew, with purgatory Fire, 
Destroys the Babe of many a doubtfull Sire." 
Ibid. p. 79. speaking of Plums, he says : 

" If eaten, as we use at Barthol'mew Tide, 
Hand over Head, that's without care or guide, 
There is a patient sure." 

I have a Tract entitled " Reasons formerly published for the punctual limiting of Bartholomew 
Faire to those three Days to which it is determined by the Royal Grant of it to the City of London : 
now reprinted with Additions to prevent a design set on foot to procure an establishment of the 
said Fair for fourteen Daves ; addressed to the Lord Mayor, Court of Aldermen, and Common 
Council." 8vo. Lond. 1711. 32 pages. 

Gay, in his Fable of the Two Monkeys, thus describes Southwark Fair : 
" The Tumbler whirles the flip-flap round, 
With Sommersets he shakes the ground j 
The Cord beneath the Dancer springs ; 
Aloft in air the Vaulter swings, 
Distorted now, now prone depends, 
Now through his twisted arms ascends ; 
The Croud in wonder and delight, 
With clapping hands applaud the sight." 

1 have before me a printed Resolution of the Parliament, dated Thursday the 17th of July, 
I(j51. " That the Fair usually held and kepi yearly at St. James's, within the Liberty of the City of 
Westminster, on or about the 25th day of July, be forborn this year ; and that no Fair be kept or 
held there by any person or persons whatsoever, until the Parliament shall take further order. 

Hen. Scobell. Cleric. Parliament)." 

A scarce Tract is also in my possession entitled " Reasons for suppressing the yearly Fair in 
Brook-field, Westminster, commonly called May-Fair, recommended to the consideration of all 
persons of Honour and Virtue." 8vo. Lond. 1709. 43 pages. 


Courts were granted at Fairs, to take notice of all manner of Causes and 
Disorders committed upon the place called Pie-poVvder, because justice was 
done to any injured person before the dust of the Fair was off his Feet k . 

It is customary at all Fairs to present Fairings, which are Gifts, bought at 
these annual Markets 1 . 

p. 4. " Multitudes of the Booths erected in this Fair are not tor trade and merchandice, but 
for musick, showes, drinking, gaming, raffling, lotteries, stage-plays, and drolls." p. 8. " It 
is a very unhappy circumstance of this Fair that it begins with the prime beauty of the year ; iu 
which many innocent persons incline to walk into the fields and out-parts of the city to divert, 
themselves, as they very lawfully may." This Fair was granted by King James II. in the fourth 
year of his reign, to commence on the first of May, and continue fifteen days after it, yearly, for 

Shaw, in his History of Staffordshire, vol. ii. part 1. p. 165, speaking of Woh erhampton and 
the Processioners there, says : " Another custom (now likewise discontinued) was the annual Pro- 
cession, on the 9th of July (the Eve of the great Fair}, of men in antique armour, preceded by 
musicians playing the Fair-tune, and followed by the steward of the Deanry Manor, the peace- 
officers, and many of the principal inhabitants. Tradition says the ceremony originated at the 
time when Wolverhampton was a great emporium of wool, and resorted to by merchants of the 
staple from all parts of England. The necessity of an armed force to keep peace and order during 
the Fair, (which is said to have lasted fourteen days, but the charter says only eight,) is not im 
probable. This custom of Walking the Fair (as it was called) with the armed Procession, &c. was 
first omitted about the year 1789." 

k Or rather, perhaps, the Court of Pie Powder means the Court of Pedlars. See the subsequent 
evidences : " Gif ane stranger merchand travelland throw the Realme, hav and na land, nor resi- 
dence, nor dwelling within the schirefdome, bot vaigand fra ane place to ane other, quha there- 
fore is called Pied Puldreux, or dustifute," &c. Regiam Majestatem, 4to. Edinb. 1774, p. 261. 

So chap. cxl. p. 265, ibid. " Anend ane Fairand-man or Dustifute." 

So again in the Table, p. 432, ibid. " Dustiefute (ane pedder, or cremar, quha hes na cer- 
taine dwelling-place, quhere he may dicht the dust from his feet," &c. 

Barrington, on the Antient Statutes, p. 423, observes, that, " In the Burrow Laws of Scot- 
land, an alien merchant is called Pied-puldreaux, and likewise ane Farand-man, or a man who 
frequents Fairs. The Court of Pipowder is, therefore, to determine disputes between those who 
resort to Fairs and these kind of Pedlars who generally attend them. Pied pulderaux, in old 
French, signifies a Pedlar, who gets his livelihood by vending his goods where he can, without 
any certain or fixed residence. 

Pie-powder is from the French " Poudre des piez," dust of the feet. See the Archaeologia of-the 
Society of Antiquaries, vol. i. p. 190. 

' This custom prevailed in the days of Chaucer, as appears by the subsequent passage in the 

FAIRS. 323 

Ray has preserved two old English Proverbs that relate to Fairs : 

" Men speak of the Fair as things went with them there ;" 

as also, 

" To come a day after the Fair." 

Wife of Bathe's Prologue, where she boasts of having managed her several husbands so well : 
" I governed hem so well after my lawe 
That eche of hem full blisful was, and fawe * 
To bringen me gay thingesfro thefeyre, 
They were fill glade," &c. 

Tyrwh. Chaucer. 4to. Oxf. 1798. vol. i. p. 335. 

" Ad sua quisque redit ; festivis Daphnen Amyntas 
Exonerat Zeniis, dandoque astringit Amores." 

See Rustics Nundinae, at the end of Woodward's Poems, 
Oxford, 1730, p. 232. 

In regard to SPORTS at FAIRS, Grose mentions one called "Mumble a Sparrow; a cruel sport 
practised at Wakes and Fairs in the following manner : a cock-sparrow, whose wings are clipped, 
is put into the crown of a hat ; a man, having his arms tied behind him, attempts to bite off the 
sparrow's head, but is generally obliged to desist, by the many pecks and pinches he receives 
from the enraged bird." 

The same author tells us, that " To whip the Cock is a piece of sport practised at Wakes, Horse- 
races, and Fairs, in Leicestershire : a cock being tied or fastened into a hat or basket, half a 
dozen carters, blindfolded, and armed with their cart-whips, are placed round it, who, after being 
turned thrice about, begin to whip the cock, which if any one strikes so aa to make it cry out, it 
becomes Ms property ; the joke is, that instead of whipping the cock they flog each other heartily." 

One or two other Sports at Fail's have been already noticed in the former volume of this 
Work, p. 429. 

Drake tells us, in his Eboracum, p. 219, that St. Luke's Day is known in York by the name of 
Whip-Dog-Day, from a strange custom that school-boys use hereof whipping all the dogs that are 
seen in the streets that day. Whence this uncommon persecution took its rise is uncertain : yet, 
though it is certainly very old, I am not of opinion, with some, that it is as antient as the Ro- 
mans. The tradition that I have heard of its origin seems very probable, that in times of popery, 
a priest celebrating mass at this Festival in some church in York, unfortunately dropped the Pax 
after consecration : which was snatched up suddenly and swallowed by a dog that lay under the 
altar table. The profanation of this high mystery occasioned the death of the dog, and a persecu- 
tion began, and has since continued, on this day, to be severely carried on against his whole 
tribe in our city." He tells us, p. 218, that " A Fair is always kept in Mickle Gate (York) on 
St. Luke's Day, for all sorts of small wares. It is commonly called Dish Fair, from the great 
quantity of wooden dishes, ladles, &c, brought to it. There is an old custom used at this Fair 

* Glad, or joyful. 


Of the 


We learn from Hickes's Thesaurus that the Norwegians and Islandic people 
used a method of numbering peculiar to themselves, by the addition of the 

of bearing a wooden ladle in a sling on two stangs about it, carried by four sturdy labourers, and 
each labourer was formerly supported by another. This, without doubt, is a ridicule on the 
meanness of the wares brought to this Fair, small benefit accruing to the labourers at it. Held 
by Charier Jan. 25, an. Reg. Regis Hen. vii. 17." 

I gathered from a newspaper that there is an annual Fair held in the Broad-gate at Lincoln on 
the 14th of September, called Foots Fair, for the sale of cattle, so called, on that authority, aa 
follows : "King William and his Queen having visited Lincoln, while on their tour through the 
Kingdom, made the citizens an offer to serve them in any manner they liked best. They asked 
for a Fair, though it was harvest, when few people can attend it, and though the town had no 
trade nor any manufacture. The King smiled, and granted their request; observing, that it wa^ 
a humble one indeed." 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. vii. p. 622, Parish of Dundonald, Ayrcshire, we 
read : " An autient practice still continues in this parish and neighbourhood, of kindling a large 
Fire, or Tawnle as it is usually termed, of wood, upon some eminence, and making merry 
around it, upon the Eve of the Wednesday of Marymass Fair in Irvine (which begins on the 
third Monday of August and continues the whole week). As most Fair Days in this country 
were formerly popish holidays, and their Eves were usually spent in religious ceremonies and in 
diversions, it has been supposed that Tawnles were first lighted up by our Catholic fathers, though 
some derive their origin from the Druidical tivnes." 

Ibid. vol. xiii. p. 77, Parish of Kencthmont, in the county of Aberdeen. " Fair at Christ's Kirk 
in the month of May. This Fair was kept on the Green, and in the night ; hence it was by the 
people called Sleepy-market. About thirty-five or thirty-six years ago, the proprietor changed it 
from night to day ; but so strong was the prepossession of the people in favour of the old custom, 
that, rather than comply with the alteration, they chose to neglect it altogether." 

In the same Work, vol. xviii. p. 612, (Svo. Edinb. 1796,) Parish of Marykirk, in the county of 
Kincardine, we read : " On the outside of the church, strongly fixed to the wall, are the Joggs, 

OLD SAW. 825 

words Tolfrsedr, Tolfraed, or Tolfraet (whence our word twelve, ) which made 
ten signify twelve ; a hundred, a hundred and twenty ; a thousand, a thousand 
two hundred ; &c. 

The reason of this was, that the Nations above-named had two decads or tens : 
a lesser, which they used in common with other nations, consisting of ten units ; 
and a greater, containing twelve (tolf) units. 

Hence, by the addition of the word Tolfraedr, or Tolfraed, the hundred con- 
tained not ten times ten, but ten times twelve, that is a hundred and twenty. 

The Doctor observes that this Tolfraedic mode of computation by the greater 
decads, or tens, which contain twelve units, is still retained amongst us in 
reckoning certain things by the number twelve, which the Swedes call dusin, 
the French douzain, and we dozen. 

And I am informed, he adds, by merchants, &c. that in the number, 
weight, and measure of many things, the hundred among us still consists of 
that greater tolfrasdic hundred which is composed of ten times twelve a . 

These were made use of, when the weekly market and annual Fair stood, to confine and punish 
those who had broken the peace, or used too much freedom with the property of others. The 
Stocks were used for the feet, and the Joggs for the neck of the offender, in which he was con- 
fined, at least, during the time of the Fair." Though the worthy minister who drew up this 
account has omitted the etymology of Joggs, 1 should think it a very obvious one from Jitguin, 
a yoke. 

a " Notetur etiam Norvegis et Islandis peculiarem numerandi rationem in usu esse per addi- 
tionem Vocum Tolfradr, Tolfrad, vel Tolfrtet, qua decem significare faciunt duodeclm ; cen- 
tum, centum et viginti; mille, mille et cc, &c. 

Causa istius computations hsec est, quod apud istas Gentes duplex est dccas, neinpe minor cze- 
teris Nationibus communis, decem continens unilates: et major continens xn. i. e. tolf, unitates. 
Inde addita voce Tolfreedr, vel Tolfrad, centuria non decies decem, sed decies duodecim, i. e. 
cxx. continet, & chilias non decies centum, sed decies cxx. i. e. Mille et cc. continet." Haec 
" autem computandi ratio per majores decades, quae duodecim unitates continent, apud nos etiam- 
num usurpatur in computandis certis rebus per duodenum numerum, quern Dozen, Suecice Dusin, 
(iallice Domain, vocamus ; quinimo in numeris, ponderibus, et mensuris multarum rerum, ut ex 
Mercatoribus, et Vehiculariis accepi, centuria apud nos etiamnum semper praesumitur significare 
majorem, sive Tolfrsedicam illam Centuriam, quae ex decies xn. conflatur, scilicet cxx. 

Sic Arngrim Jonas in Crymoga:a, sive rerum Island, lib. 1. cap. viii. hundrad centum sonat, sed 
quadam consuetudine plus continet nempe 1'20. Inde etiamnum apud nos vetus istud de cente- 
nario numero : Five score of men, money, and pins : sir score of all other things." Gram. Isl. p. 43- 

326 OLD SAW. 

Hence then without doubt is derived to us the present mode of reckoning 
many things by six score to the Hundred. 

By the Statute, 25 Hen. VIII. c. 13. no person shall have above two thousand 
Sheep on his Lands ; and tlie twelfth Section (after reciting that the Hundred in 
every County be not alike, some reckoning by the great Hundred, or six score, 
and others by five score,) declares that the number Two Thousand shall be ac- 
counted Ten hundred for every Thousand, after the number of the great Hun- 
dred, and not after the less Hundred, so that every Thousand shall contain Twelve 
hundred after the less number of the Hundred. 

Dr. Percy observes, upon the Northumberland Household Book, "It will be 
necessary to premise here, that the antient modes of Computation 15 are retained 
in this Book : according to which it is only in money that the hundred consists of 
five score : in all other Articles the Enumerations are made by the old Teutonic 
hundred of six Score, or a hundred and twenty ." 

b " It was antiently the practice to reckon up sums with counters. To this Shakspeare alludes 
in Othello, Act i. sc. i. : ' This Counter-caster.' And again in Cymbeline, Act v. : 'It sums up 
thousands in a trice : you have no true debtor and creditor but it : of what's past, is, and to come, 
the discharge. Your neck, Sir, is Pen, Book, and Counters.' Again, in Acolastus, a comedy, 
1529 : ' I wyl cast my Counters, or with Counters make all my reckenynges'." See Reed's edit, of 
Shaksp. 8vo. 1803, vol. xix. p. 228. 

c In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. i. (8vo. Edinb. 1791,) p. 187, the 
Minister of Parton, under the head of Population, tells us : " A few years ago, a man died above 
90, who, about eight months before his death, got a complete set of new Teeth, which he employed 
till near his last breath to excellent purpose. He was four times married, had Children by all his 
Wives, and, at the baptism of his last Child, which happened not a year before his death, with an 
air of complacency expressed his thankfulness to his Maker for having ' at last sent him the clcd 
Score,' i. e. Twenty-one." 



" Of airy Elves by moon-light shadows seen, 
The silver Token and the circled Green." 

Pope's Rape of the Lock, 1.31. 

BOURNE supposes this Superstition to have been conveyed down to us by 
Tradition from the Lamias, who were esteemed so mischievous as to take away 
young Children and slay them ; these, says he, together with the Fauns, the Gods 
of the Woods, seem to have formed the notion of Fairies a . 

Others deduce, them from the Lares and Larvte of the Romans. 

Dr. Percy tells us, that, on the assurance of a learned Friend in Wales, the 
existence of Fairies is alluded to by the most antient British Bards, among 
whom their commonest name was that of the Spirits of the Mountains." 

It is conjectured by some that these little aerial people have been imported 
into Europe by the Crusaders from the East, as in some respects they resemble 
the oriental Genii. Indeed the Arabs and Persians, whose Religion and History 
abound with Relations concerning them, have assigned them a peculiar Country 
to inhabit, and called it Fairy Land b . 

a Antiq. Vulgares, chap. x. " Fairies and Elves are frequently, in the Poets, mentioned together 
without any distinction of character that I can recollect. Keysler says, that Alp and Alf, which 
is Elf, with the Swedes and English, equally signified a Mountain or a Daemon of the Mountains. 
This seems to have been its original meaning ; but Somner's Dictionary mentions Elves, or Fairies 
of the Mountains, of the Woods, of the Sea and Fountains, without any distinction between Elves 
arifl Fairies." TOLLET. See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. vol. iv. p. 15. 

b " It will afford entertainment," says Dr. Percy, (Antient Ballads, vol. iii. p. 207.) to a contem- 
plative Mind to trace these whimsical Opinions up to their origin. Whoever considers how early, 
how extensively, and how uniformly they have prevailed in these Nations, will not readily assent to 
the hypothesis of those who fetch them from the East so late as the time of the Croisades. 
Whereas it is well known that our Saxon Ancestors, long before they left their German forests, 
believed the existence of a kind of diminutive Demons, or middle species between Men and 


It was an article in the popular Creed concerning Fairies, that they were a 
kind of intermediate Beings, partaking of the nature both of Men and Spirits : 
that they had material bodies and yet the power of making them invisible and 
of passing them through any sort of Inclosures. 

They were thought to be remarkably small in stature with fair complexions, 
from which last circumstance they have derived their English name c . 

The Habits of both Sexes of Fairies are represented to have been generally 
green d . 

Spirits, whom they called Duergar or Dwarfs, and to whom they attributed many wonderful 
performances far exceeding human art. Vide Hervarer Olai Verelii, 1675. Hickesil Thesaurus, &c." 

The account given of them by Moresin (Papatus, p. 139.) favours this Etymology. " Papatus" 
(says he) "credit albatas mulieres et id genus laroas," &c. 

d " My Grandmother, (says the author of " Round about our Coal Fire," p. 42.) has often told 
me of Fairies dancing upon our Green, and that they were little little Creatures clothed in green." 

1 made strict enquiries after Fairies in the uncultivated Wilds of Northumberland, but even 
there I could only meet with a man who said that he had seen one that had seen Fairies. Truth is 
hard to come at in most cases. None, I believe, ever came nearer to it in this than I have done. 

The author of " Round about our Coal Fire" has these further particulars of the popular notions 
concerning them. " The moment any one saw them and took notice of them, they were struck 
blind of an Eye. They lived under ground, and generally came out of a Molehill." 

Concerning Fairies, King James, in his Dsemonology, p. 132. has the following passages s 
" That there was a King and Queene of Phairie, that they had a jolly Court and Traine they had 
a Teynd and Duetie, as it were of all goods they naturally rode and went, eate and dranke, and 
did all other actions like natural Men and Women. Witches have been transported with the 
Pharie to a Hill, which opening, they went in and there saw a faire Queen, who being now lighter 
gave them a Stone that had sundrie Vertues." 

There is reprinted in Morgan's Phoenix Britannicus, p. 545. a curious Tract on the subject of 
Fairies, entitled " An Account of Anne Jefferies, now living in the County of Cornwall, who was 
fed, for six months, by a small sort of airy people called Fairies : and of the strange and wonderful 
Cures she performed, with Salves and Medicines she received from them, for which she never took 
one penny of her patients : in a Letter from Moses Pitt to the right reverend Father in God Dr. 
Edward Fowler, Lord Bishop of Gloucester : London, printed for Richard Cumberland, 1696." 
Morgan tells us that the copy from which he reprinted it had at the bottom of its title-page this 
N.B. in MS. " Recommended by the Right Rev. to his Friend Mrs. Eliz. Rye." He means, no 
doubt, the above Bishop of Gloucester, who it should seem had tacked to his Creed this article of 
belief in Fairies. 


Their Haunts were thought to have been Groves, Mountains, the southern 
side of Hills, and verdant Meadows, where their diversion was dancing hand 
in hand in a Circle 6 . The traces of their tiny Feet are supposed to rc- 

This Tract states that " Anne Jefferies (for that was her maiden name) was born in the parish 
of St. Teath in the County of Cornwall, in December 1626', and is still living, 1696, aged 70. She is 
married to one William Warren, formerly Hind to the late eminent Physician Dr. Richard Lower, 
deceased, and now to Sir Andrew Slanning of Devon, Bait. That A. D. 1645. as she was one day 
sitting knitting in an Arbour in the Garden, there came over the Hedge, of a sudden, six persons 
of a small stature all clothed in green, which frighted her so much as to throw her into a great sick- 
ness. They continued their appearance to her, never less than two at a time, nor never more than 
eight, always in even numbers 2. 4. 6. 8. " She forsook eating our Victuals' 1 (continues the Nar- 
rator in whose family she lived as a Servant) " and was fed by these Fairies from the Harvest time 
to the next Christmas Day ; upon which day she came to our Table and said, because it was that 
day she would eat some roast Beef with us, which she did, I myself being then at Table. 

" One Day," he adds, " she gave me a piece of her (Fairy) Bread, which I did eat, and think it 
was the most delicious Bread that ever I did eat, either before or since. 

" One Day," the credulous Narrator goes on, " these Fairies gave my sister Mary a silver Cup, 
which held about a Quart, bidding her give it my Mother, but my Mother would not accept it. 
I presume this was the time my Sister owns she saw the Fairies. I confess to your Lordship I never 
did set them. 1 have seen Anne in the Orchard dancing among the Trees ; and she told me she 
was then dancing with the Fairies." 

It is with great diffidence that I shall venture to consider Anne's case en Medicin ; yet I presume, 
some very obvious physical reasons might be given, why a Wench of nineteen should fall into sick- 
ness and see objects that were green without the smallest necessity of calling in the aid of the 
marvellous. It appears that Anne was afterwards thrown into Jail as an impostor, nor does even 
the friendly Narrator of her singular story, Moses Pitt, give us any plausible account why the 
Fairies, like false earthly friends, forsook her in the time of her distress. 

e " To dance on ringlets to the whistling Wind." 

Mids. N. Dream, Act.ii. sc.2. 

" Ringlets of Grass," Dr. Grey observes, " are very common in Meadows, which are higher, 
sowrer, and of a deeper green than the Grass that grows round them : and by the common people 
are usually called Fairy Circles." Notes on Shakspeare, vol. i. p. 35. 

Again in Shakspeare's Tempest, Act v. sc. 1. 

" Ye Elves you demy puppets, that 



main visible on the Grass long afterwards, and are called Fairy Rings -or 

By Moon-shine do the green-sour ringlets make, 
Whereof the Ewe not bites." 

So again, " To dew her Orbs upon the Green." The Orbs here mentioned, Dr. Johnson ob- 
serves, are Circles supposed to be made by Fairies on the ground, whose verdure proceeds from 
the Fairies care to water them. Thus, Drayton : 

"They in their Courses make that round, 
In Meadows and in Marshes found, 
Of them so call'd the Fairy Ground." 

Thus, in Olaus Magnus de Gentibus Septentrionalibus, " Similes illis spectris, qua; in multis 
locis, pnesertim nocturno tempore, suum saltatorium Orbem cum omnium Musarum concentu ver- 
sare solent." It appears from the same author, that these Dancers always parched up the Grass, 
and therefore it is properly made the office of Puck to refresh it. See Mr. Steevens's Note on 
Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 1SO3. vol. iv. p. 343. 

Ibid. p. 410. " Vero saltum adeo profunde in terram impresserant, ut locus insigni ardore orbi- 
eulariter peresus, non parit arenti redivivum cespite gramen." Olaus Magnus de Gent. Septentr. 

They are again alluded to in Randolph's Amyntas, Act. iii. sc. 4. 

" They do request you now 
To give them leave to dance a Fairy Ring." 
Browne, in his Britannia's Pastorals, p. 41. describes 

" a pleasant Mead, 

Where Fairies often did their Measures tread,. 
Which in the Meadows made such Circles green 
As if with Garlands it had crowned been. 
Within one of these rounds was to be seen 
A Hillock rise, where oft the Fairy-Queen 
At twilight sat." 

" They had fine Musfck always among themselves," says the author of " Round about our Coal 
Fire," p. 41 . " and danced in a moon-shiny Night, around, or in a Ring, as one may see at this 
Day upon every Common in England where Mashroomes grow." 

The author of " Mons Catherine" has not forgotten t& notice these ringlets in his poem, p. 9. 
" Sive illic Lemurum populus sub nocte choreas 
Plauserit exiguas, viridesque attriverit herbas." 

The last poetical mention of them which we shall quote is from " Six Pastorals," &c. by George 
Smith, Landscape Painter at Chichester, in Sussex, 4to. Lond. 1770. p. 24. 


Circles f . 

With all the passions and wants of Human Beings, they are represented as 
great lovers and patrons of cleanliness and propriety, for the observance of 

" Some say the Screech-Owl, at each midnight hour, 
Awakes the Fairies in yon antient Tow'r. 
Their nightly-dancing Ring I always dread, 
Nor let my Sheep within that Circle tread ; 
Where round and round all night, in moon-light fair, 
They dance to some strange Musick in the Air." 

The Athenian Oracle, vol. i. p. 397- mentions a popular belief that " if a House be built upon thn 
ground where Fairy Kings are, whoever shall inhabit therein does wonderfully prosper." 

Waldron, inliis Description of the Isle of Man (Works, fol. p. 138.) tells us : "As to Circles in 
the Grass, and the impression of small Feet among the Snow, 1 cannot deny but I have seen them 
frequently, and once 1 thought I heard a Whistle as tho' in nay ear, when nobody that could make 
it was near me." 

' Some ascribe the Phsenomenon of the Circle or Ring, supposed by the vulgar to be traced fay 
the Fairies in their Dances, to the effects of Lightning, as being frequently produced after 
Storms of that kind, and by the colour and brittlencss of the grass-roots when first observed. 

In support of this Hypothesis the reader may consult Priestley's " Present State of Electricity." See 
also No. cxvii. p. 391. of the Philosophical Transactions, where it is stated that Mr. Walker, walk- 
ing abroad after a Storm of Thunder and Lightning, observed a round Circle of about four or 
five yards diameter, whose rim was about a foot broad, newly burnt bare, as appeared from the 
colour and brittleness of the grass roots. See Gent. Mag. for Dec. 1790. vol. Is. p. 1 106. 

Others have thought these appearances occasioned by Moles, working for themselves a run 
underground. This I believe they never do in a circular manner. Gent. Mag. ibid. p. 10/2. 

Mr. Pennant in his British Zoology, 8vo. Lond. 1776. vol. i. p. 131. says: "It is supposed that 
the verdant Circles so often seen in grass 'grounds, called by the country people Fairy Rings, are 
owing to the operation of these Animals, who at certain Seasons perform their burrowings by cir- 
cumgyrations, which looseing the soil, gives the surface a greater fertility and rankncss of Grass 
than the other parts within or without the Ring." 

In short, Fancy has sported herself in endeavouring to account for these circular Rings ; and 
there are not wanting such as have, I had almost said, dreamt them to have been Trenches dug 
up by the antient Inhabitants of Britain, and used either in celebrating some of their sports, or in 
paying divine honours to some of their imaginary Deities. Gent. Mag. ut supra. Supplem. 
p. 1180. 

In the Gent. Mag. for January 1791. vol. Ixi. p. 36. a Writer on the subject of Fairy Rings refers 
to the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, vol. ii. p. 3. to a Paper by Dr. Hutton, 


which they were said frequently to reward good Servants by dropping Money 
into their Shoes, in the night; and on the other hand they were reported 
to punish most severely the sluts and slovenly by pinching them black and 
blue s. 

which places these curious appearances in a new point of view, and is there said to overturn the 
Theories formerly offered to explain their production. By this it appears that they are not the 
tracks of Animals. In that, I perfectly agree with the author, hut much doubt if every thing else 
he has stated concerning them is not in favour of the Hypothesis of their owing their primary ori- 
gin to the effects of Lightning. 

[The most clear and satisfactory remarks on the origin of Fairy Rings are probably those of Dr. 
Wollaston, Sec. R. S. printed in the second part of the Philosophical Transactions for 1807: made 
during a few years residence in the country. The cause of their appearance he ascribes to the 
growth of certain species of Agaric, which so entirely absorb all nutriment from the soil beneath 
that the herbage is for a while destroyed.] 

B So in the old Ballad of Robin Goodfellow. Peck's New Memoirs of Milton, p. "25. 
" Cricket, to Windsor Chimneys shall thou leap, 
Where Fires thou find'st unrak'd and Hearths unswept, 
There pinch the Maids as blue as bilberry, 
Our radiant Queen hates Sluts and sluttery. 

See more on this subject in the Notes on Hudibras, P. III. C. i. 1. 1413. Sec also Dr. Grey's Notes 
on Shakspeare, vol. i. p. 111. 

Thus in Lluellin's Poems, Svo. Lond. 1679. p. 35. 

" We nere pity Girles, that doe 

Find no treasure in their shoe, 
But are nip't by the tyrannous Fairy. 

List ! the noice of the Chaires, 

Wakes the Wench to her pray'rs 
Queen Mab comes worse than a Witch in; 

Back and sides she entailes 

To the print of her nailes, 
She'l teach her to snort in the Kitchin." 

Thus again, in Browne's Britannia's Pastorals, p. 41. 

" Where oft the Fairy Queen 
At twilight sat and did command her Elves 
To pinch those Maids that had not swept their shelves : 


In the Superstitions and Customs concerning Children I have before noticed 
their practice of stealing unbaptized Infants and leaving their own progeny in 
their stead h . I know not why, but they are reported to have been par- 

And farther, if by Maidens oversight 
Within doors water was not brought at Night ; 
Or if they spread no Table, set no bread, 
They shall have Nips from Toe unto the head : 
And for the Maul that had perform' d each thing 
She in the Water-pail bade leave a Ring." 

The author of " Round about our Coal Fire," p. 4&. has the subsequent passage : " When the 
Master and Mistress were laid on their pillows, the Men and Maids, if they had a Game at romps 
and blundered up stairs, or jumbled a Chair, the next Morning every one would swear 'twas tlie 
Fairies, and that they heard them stamping up and down stairs all night, crying Waters lock'cl, 
Waters lock'd, when there was not water in every pail in the Kitchen." 

I find the following in a curious Collection of Poetical Pieces, entitled : " A pleasant Grove of 
new Fancies," 8vo. Lond. 1657, p. 67. 

" The Fairies. 

If ye will with Mab finde grace 
Set each platter in its place j 
Rake the Fire up and get 
Wau r in ere Sun be set : 
Wash your pales and cleanse your darlc.s, 
Sluts arc loathsome to the Fairies : 
Sweep your house, who doth not so 
Mab will pinch her by the Toe." 

These Lines also occur in Herrick's Hesperides. " Grant that the sweet Fairies may nightly 
put money in your shoes, and sweepe your house clcane," occurs as one of the Good Wishes intro- 
duced "by Holiday in his Comedy of TEXNOFAMIA, or the Marriages of the Arts," Signat. E. b. 

h See before, p. 8. Puttenham, in the Arte of English Pocsle, 4to. Lond. 1589. p. 1-14. mentions 
this as an opinion of the Nurses. It is also noticed, in an allusion to Fairy Mythology, in the Irish 
Hudibras, 8vo. Lond. 1G89. p. 1<22. 

" Drink Dairies dry, and stroke the Cattle ^ 
Steal Sucklings and through Key-holes sling-, 
Topeing and Dancing in a Ring." 

Gay, in his Fable of the Mother, Nurse, and Fain', laughs thus at the superstitious Idea of 
Changelings. A Fairy's tongue is the vehicle of his elegant ridicule; 


ticularly fond of making Cakes, and to have been very noisy during the 

" Whence sprung the vain conceited Lye 
That we the World with fools supplye ? 
What ! give our sprightly Race away 
For the dull helpless Sons of Clay ! 
Besides, by partial fondness shown, 
Like you, we doat upon our own. 
Where ever yet was found a Mother 
Who'd give her booby for another ? 
And should we change with human breed, 
Well might we pass for fools indeed." 

In a most rare Book in my possession, entitled " Mount Tabor, or Private Exercises of a peni- 
tent Sinner, &c. written in the time of a voluntary retreat from secular Affaires ; by R. W. Esq. 
(R. Willis) published in the year of his age 75. Anno Dom. 1639." 12mo. Lond. at p. 92. the author 
under the following head, " Upon an extraordinary accident which befel me in my swadling 
Cloaths," tells us : " When we come to years, we are commonly told of what befell us in our In- 
faucie, if the same were more than ordinary. Such an Accident (by relation of others) befell me 
within few daies after my birth, whilst my Mother lay in of me being her second Child, when I 
was taken out of the Bed from her side, and by my suddain and fierce crying recovered again, being found 
sticking between the Bed's head and the Wall : and if I had not cryed in that manner as I did, our 
Gossips had a conceit that I had been quite carried away by the Fairies they know not whither, and 
some Elfe or Ciiangeling (as they call it) laid in my Room." He himself, however, discrediting 
the Gossips' Account, attributes this attempt to the Devil. " Certainly," says our author, " that at- 
tempt of stealing me away as soone as I was borne (whatever the Midwivcs talk of it) came 
from the malice of that arch enemy of Mankind, who is continually going about seeking whom 
he may betray and devoure." He concludes, " blessed be God, that disappointed him then, and 
hath ever since preserved and kept mee from his manifold Plots and Stratagems of destruction : 
so as now in the seventieth yeare of mine Age, I yet live to praise and magnifie his wonderful! 
Mercies towards me in this behalfe." 

Martin, in his History of the Western Islands, p. 116. says : " In this Island of Lewis there was 
an antient custom to make a fiery Circle about the Houses, Corn, Cattle, &c. belonging to each 
particular Family. A Man carried Fire in his right hand, and went round, audit was called Dessil ; 
from the right hand, which, in the antient language, is called Dess. There is another way of the 
Dossil, or carrying fire round about Women before they are churched, and about Children until 
they be christened, both of which are performed in the morning and at night. They told me this 
Fire round was an effectual means to preserve both the mother and the infant from the power of 
evil Spirits, who are ready at such tim8 to do mischief, and sometimes carry away the Infants, and 



There were also, it is said, besides the terrestrial Fairies, a species of infernal 
ones, who dwelt in the Mines, where they were often heard to imitate the actions 
of the Workmen, whom they were thought to be inclined to do service to, and 
never, unless provoked by Insult, to do any harm k . 

In Wales this Species were called Knockers 1 , and were said to point out the 
rich veins of Silver and Lead. 

Some Fairies are also said to have resided in Wells. 

return them poor meagre Skeletons, and these Infants are said to have voracious appetites, con- 
stantly craving for meat. In this case it was usual for those who believed that their Children were 
thus taken away, to dig a grave in the fields upon Quarter Day, and there to lay the Fairy Skeleton 
till next morning : at which time the Parents went to the place, where they doubted not to find 
their own Child instead of the Skeleton. 

1 " In Ireland they frequently lay Bannocks, a kind of Oaten Cakes, in the way of Travellers 
over the Mountains : and if they do not accept of the intended favour, they seldom escape a hearty- 
beating or something worse." Grose. 

k The Scottish Encyclopedia in verbo says : "The belief of Fairies still subsists in many parts of 
our own Country. The " Swart Fair}" of the Mine" (of German extraction) has scarce yet quilted 
our subterraneous Works." 

"The Germans believed in two species of Fairies of the "Mines, one fierce and malevolent, the 
other a gentle Race, appearing like little old men dressed like Miners, and not much above two- 
feet high." 

1 Grose quotes Mr. .Tohn Lewis, in his Correspondence with Mr. Baxter, describing- them as little 
statured, and about half a yard long ; and adding that at this very instant there are Miners on a dis- 
covery of a vein of Metal on his own lands, and that two of them are ready to make oath they have 
heard these Knockers in the day time. 

m Hutchinson, in his History of Cumberland, vol. i. p. 269. speaking of Eden-Hall, says : " In- 
this House are some good old fashioned Apartments. An Old painted Drinking Glass, called the 
Luck of Eden-hall, is preserved with great care. In the Garden, near to the House, is a Well of ex- 
cellent Spring Water, called St.Cuthbert's Well, (the Church is dedicated to that Saint) ; this Glass 
is supposed to have been a sacred Chalice ; but the legendary Tale is, that the Butler going to 
draw Water, surprized a company of Fairies, who were amusing themselves upon the Green, near 
the Well : he seized the Glass, which was standing upon its margin ; they tried to recover it j but 
after an ineffectual struggle, flew away, saying, 

" If that Glass either break or fall, 
Farewell the Luck of Eden-hall." 

This Cup is celebrated in. the Duke of Wharton's Ballad upon the remarkable Drinking Match 


There were also thought to have been a sort of domestic Fairies, called from 
their sun-burnt complexions Brownies n , who were extremely useful, and said to 
have performed all sorts of domestic drudgery . 

Fairies were sometimes thought to be mischievously inclined by shooting 

held at Sir Christopher Musgrave's. Another reading of the Lines said to have been left with it, is 

" Whene'er this Cup shall break or fall, 

Farewell the Luck of Eden-hall." 

Surely, savs Mr. Douce, this Etymology can only have arisen from an accidental coincidence 
between the two terms Fairies and Brownies. The Word we have immediately from the French. 
Whence they had it the Reader may possibly learn from Menage and other Etymologists. See 
Ducanger. FADUS. FADA. 

o Milton's Description of Browny [who seems here to be the same with Robin Goodfcllow,] 
in his L'Allegro is fine : 

" Tells how the drudging Goblin swet, 
To earn his cream-bowl duly set, 
When in one night 'ere glimpse of mom, 
His shadowy Fla'.e hath thresh'd the Corn 
That ten day-lab' rers could not end ; 
Then lays him down the lubbar-ficnd, 
And stretch'd out all the Chimney's length 
Basks at the fire his hairy strength, 
And crop-full, out of doors he flings, 
Ere the first Cock his matin rings." 

The following on the same subject is from the Ode on the popular Superstitions of the Highlands 
of Scotland, (written by Collins,) 4to. Lond. 1788. 

" Still 'tis said, the Fairy people meet 
Beneath each birken shade on Mead or Hill. 
There each trim Lass, that skims the rnilky store, 
To the swart Tribes their creamy Bowls allots ; 
By night they sip it round the Cottage door, 
While airy Minstrels warble jocund Notes." p. 10. 

Martin, in his Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, p. 391. speaking of the Shetland 
Isles, says : " It is not long since every Family of any considerable substance in those Islands was 
haunted by a Spirit they called Browny, which did several sorts of Work : and this was the reason 
why they gave him offerings of the various products of the place. Thus some, when they 
churned their milk, or brewed, poured some milk and wort through the hole of a stone called 
Bcowny's Stone." 


at Cattle with Arrows headed with Flint Stones. These were often found and 
called Elf-Shots P. 

Ibid. p. 334. he says : " A Spirit by the country people called Browny, was frequently seen in all 
the most considerable Families in these Isles and North of Scotland, in the shape of a tall Man : 
but within these twenty or thirty years past, he is seen but rarely. 

"There were Spirits also that appeared in the shape of Women, Horses, Swine, Catts, and some 
like fiery Balls, which would follow men in the Fields : but there have been but few instances of 
these for forty years past. 

"These Spirits used to form sounds in the Air, resembling those of a Harp, Pipe, crowing of a 
Cock, and of the grinding of Querns ; and sometimes they thrice heard voices in the Air by Night, 
singing Irish Songs : the Words of which Songs some of my Acquaintance still retain. One of 
them resembled the voice of a Woman who had died some time before, and the Song related to 
her state in the other World. These accounts I had from persons of as great integrity as any are 
in the World." 

Speaking of three Chapels in the Island of Valay, he says : " Below the Chappels there is a flat 
thin stone, called Brownie's Stone, upon which the anticnt Inhabitants offered a Cow's Milk every 
Sunday : but this Custom is now quite abolished." 

" The Spirit called Brownie," (says King James in his Daemonology, p. 127.) appeared like a 
rough man, and haunted divers houses without doing any cvill, but doing as it were necessarie 
turtles up and downe the house ; yet some were so blinded as to beleeve that their house was all 
the sonsier as they called it, that such Spirits resorted there." 

Dr. Johnson, in his Journey to the Western Islands, observes, that of Browny, mentioned by 
Martin, " nothing has been heard for many years. Browny was a sturdy Fairy, who, if he was fed 
and kindly treated, would as they say do a great deal of work. They now pay him no Wages, and 
are content to labour for themselves." p. 171. 

In Heron's Journey through Part of Scotland, 8vo. Perth, 1799. vol. ii. p. 227. we are told, " The 
Brownie was a very obliging Spirit, who used to come into Houses by night, and for a dish of 
Cream to perform lustily any piece of work that might remain to be done: sometimes he would 
work, and sometimes eat till he burstcd : if old clothes were laid out for him, he took them in 
great distress, and never more returned." 

Brand, in his" Description of Orkney, 8vo. Edinb. 1701. p. 63. says : "Evil Spirits, also called 
Fairies, are frequently seen in several of the Isles dancing and making merry, and sometimes seen 
in armour. Also I had the account of the wild sentiments of some of the people concerning them; 
but with such I shall not detain my Reader." 

t The Naturalists of the dark Ages owed many obligations to our Fairies; for whatever they found 
wonderful and could not account for, they easily got rid of by charging to their account. Thus 
they called those, which some have since supposed to have been the heads of Arrows or Spears *, 

* Plott, in his Staffordshire, p. 369. speaking- of Elf-arrows, says : "These they find in Scotland in much 
greater plenty, especially in the praefectuary of Aberdeen, which, as the learned Sir Robert Sibbald informs us, 
they there called Elf-Arrmvs, Lamiaruin Sagittas, imagining they drop from the Clouds, not being to be found 
upon a diligent search, but uow and then by chance in the high beaten roads." 



The Animal affected was, in order to a cure, to be touched with one 

before the use of Iron was known, others of Tools as in Otaheite, Elf-shots *. To the Ignis fatuus 
they gave the name of Elf-Jirc f. 

* In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. i. p. 73. Parish of Lauder, we are told, " Arrow 
points of Flint, commonly called Elf or Fairy Stones, are to be seen here." 

Ibid. vol. iii. p. 56. Parish of Fordice, Banffshire, " Flint arrow heads of our ancestors, called by the Country 
people Elf -Arrow-heads, have been found in this parish." 

Ibid. vol. x. p. 15. Parish of Wick, county of Caithness, " Some small Stones have been found which seem to 
be a species of Flint, about an inch long and. half an inch broad, of a triangular shape, and barbed on each side. 
The common people confidently assert that they are Fairies Arrows, which they shoot at Cattle, when they 
instantly fall down dead, though the hide of '<ie animal remains quite entire. Some of these Arrows have been 
found buried a foot under ground, am! are supposed to have been in antient times fixed in shafts and shot from 

Ibid. vol. xxi. p. 148. " Elves, by their Arrows, destroyed, and not seldom unmercifully, Cows and Oxen." 
I!ut now, " The Elf has withdrawn his Arrows." 

The subsequent Lines are found in the Ode on the popular Superstitions of the Highlands. 
"There, ev'ry Herd, by sad experience, knows 

How, wing'd with fate, their Elf-shot Arrows fly, 
When the sick Ewe her summer-food foregoes, 

Or stretch'd on Earth the heart-smit Heifers lie." p. 10. 

Allan Ramsay, in his Poems, 4to. Edinburgh, 1721. p. 224. explains Elf-shot thus: " Bewitch'd, shot by Fairies. 
Country people tell odd Tales of this distemper amongst Cons. When Elf-shot, the Cow falls down suddenly 
dead, no part of the skin is pierced, but often, a little triangular flat Stone is found near the Beast, as they re- 
port, which is called the Elf's Arrow. 

In the Survey of the South of Ireland, p. 280. I read as follows : " The Fairy Mythology is swallowed with 
the wide throat of Credulity. Every parish has its Green and Thorn, where these little people are believed to 
hold their merry meetings, and dance their frolic rounds. I have seen one of those Elf-stones like a thin tri- 
angular flint, not half an inch in diameter, with which they suppose the Fairies destroy their Cows. And 
when these Animals are seized with a certain disorder, to which they are very incident, they say they are 

Vallancey, in his Collectanea de rebus Hibernicis, No. xiii. Description of Plate II. tells us, that what the 
Peasants in Ireland call an Elf-Arrow, is frequently set in Silver, and worn about the neck as an Amulet against 
being Elf-shot." 

Shakspeare has the expression " Elvish-marked," on which his learned and ingenious Commentator, Mr, 
Steevens, observes : " The common people in Scotland (as I learn from Kelly's Proverbs) have still an aversion 
to those who have any natural defect, or redundancy, as thinking them marked out for mischief." See Reed's 
edit, of Shaksp. 1 803 . vol. xiv. p . 3 1 1 . 

In Ady's Candle in the Dark, p. 1 29. we read : " There be also often found in Women with Childe, and in 
women that do nurse children with their breasts," and on other occasions, " certain spots black and blue, as if 
they were pinched or beaten, which some common ignorant people call Fairy-Nipt, which, notwithstanding, do 
come from the causes aforesaid : and yet for these have many ignorant searchers given evidence against poor 
innocent people" (that is, accused them of being Witches). 

) If red-eld vocatur Ignis qui ex attritu duorum Lignorum elicitur, & quia superstitiosis varie usurpari 
iVieitur." Ihre, Glossar. Suio-Goth. fol. Ups. 1769. in verbo. 


of these, or made to drink the water in which one of them had been 

Certain luminous appearances, often seen on Cloaths m the night, are called in Kent Fairy 
Sparks, or Shell-Fire, as Hay informs us in his East and South Country Words, 'fhus, I was told 
by Mr. Pennant, that there is a substance found at great depths iu crevices of lime-stone Rocks, 
in sinking for Lead Ore, near Holywell in Flintshire, which is called Menyn Tylna Teg, or Fairies' 
Butter. So also in Northumberland the common people call a certain fungous excrescence, 
sometimes found about the roots of old trees, Fairy Butter. After great rains and in a certain 
degree of putrefaction, it is reduced to a consistency which, together with its colour, makes it 
not unlike Butter, and hence the name J. 

Thus farther, "a hard matted or clatted Lock of Hair in the nock is called an Elf-Lock^." 
See the Glossary to Kennel's Parochial Antiquities, v. LOKYS. 

So Shakspeare, 

" This is that very Mab, 

That plats the manes of Horses in the night, 
And bakes the Elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs, 
Which once untangled, much misfortune bodes." 

Romeo and Juliet. 

Warburton thought this superstition had its origin in the Plica Polonica. 
Again, in K. Lear, Edgar says, " Elf all my hair in knots." 

A Disease, consisting of a hardness of the side, was called in the dark ages of superstition the 
Elf-Cake. In the seventh Book of " A Thousand Notable Tilings," No. 55. is the following pre- 
scription which, it is said, will help the hardness of the side called the Elf-Cake. " Take the 
Root of Gladen, and make powder thereof, and give the diseased party half a spoon-ful thereof to 
drink in white Wine, and let him eat thereof so much in his pottage at one time, and it will help 
him within a while." 

Cures for the above disorder are, I suppose, alluded to in the subsequent entry in the Catalogue 
of the Harleian MSS. vol. ii. No. 2378.13. " For the Elf-Cake." f. 47. & 57. This is of the time 
of Henry the sixth, and the same as that from the Thousand Notable Tilings. 

Camden, in his Antient and Modern Manners of the Irish, says : " When any one happens to 
fall, he springs'up again, and turning round three times to the right, digs the Earth with a Sword 
or Knife, and takes up a Turf, because they say the Earth reflects his shadow to him : (quod illi 
terrain umbram reddere dicunt : they imagine there is a Spirit in the Earth. Holland. Gibson.) 

J St. Hascka is said by her Prayers to have made stinking Butter sweet. See the Bollandists under Januar. 
26. as cited by Patrick in his Devot. of the Romish Church, p. 37. 

|| In Thomas Lodge's Wits Miserie, or the Divels incarnat of this Age," 4to. Lond. 159S. p. 62. is the follow- 
ing passage : " His haires are curl'd and full of Elves-Locks, and nitty for want of kembing." He is speakin' 
of " a Ruffian, a Swash Buckler, and a Bragart." 

In " Wit and Fancy in a Maze, p. 12. " My Guts, quoth Soto, are contorted like a Dragon's Tajle, in Elf- 
tnots, as if some Tripe-wife had tack't them together for Chitterlings." 


The Genius of Shakspeare converting whatever it handled into Gold, has 
been singularly happy in its display of the Fairy Mythology 1. I know not 

and if he falls sick within two or three days after, a Woman skilled in those matters is sent to the 
spot, and there says, ' I call thee P. from the East, West, South, and North, from the Groves, 
Woods, Rivers, Marshes, Fairies white, red, black, &c.' and, after uttering certain short Prayers, 
she returns home to the sick person, to see whether it be the distemper which they call Esane, 
which they suppose inflicted by the Fairies, and whispering in his ear another short prayer, with 
the Pater-noster, puts some burning Coals into a Cup of clear Water, and forms a better judge- 
ment of the disorder than most physicians." See Cough's edit, of Camden, 1789. vol. iii. p. 668. 

Among the Curiosities preserved in Mr. Parkinson's Museum, formerly Sir Ashton Lever's, were 
" Orbicular sparry Bodies, commonly called Fairies Money, from the banks of the Tyne, North- 
umberland." See the Companion to the Leverian Museum, Part i. p. 33. 4to. 1790. 

In the old Play of the "Fatall Dowry," 4to. Lond. 1C32. Act. iv. sc. 1. Ramont says : 
" But not a word of it, 'tis Fairies Treasure; 
Winch but reveal' d, brings on the Blabber's ruine." 

In a curious little Book entitled " A brief Character of the Low Countries under the States, 
being Three Weeks' Observations of the Vices and Vertues of the Inhabitants." 12mo. Lond. 16'52. 
p. 26. is another allusion to this well-known trait of Fairy Mythology : 
" She falls off like Fairy Wealth disclosed," &c. 

In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xxi. p. 148. we are told, " Fairies held from time 
immemorial certain Fields, which could not be taken away without gratifying those merry Sprites 
by a piece of money:" but now, " Fairies, without requiring compensation, have renounced their 
possessions *." 

Waldron, in his Description of the Isle of Man, (Works, fol. p. 176.) tells us that tBere is in 
that Island " 1 he Fairies Saddle, a Stone termed so, as I suppose, from the similitude it has of a 
Saddle. It seems to lie loose on the edge of a small rock, and the wise Natives of Man tell you, 
it is every night made use of by the Fairies, but what kind of Horses they are, 011 whose backs 
this is put, 1 could never find any of them who pretended to resolve me." 

s Waldron, in the Work just quoted, p. 126. tells us that the Manks confidently assert that the 
first Inhabitants of their Island were Fairies, and that these little people have still their residence 
among them. They call them the good people, and say they live in wilds and forests, and on moun- 
tains, and shun great Cities because of the wickedness acted therein. All the houses are blessed where 

* In the same Work, yol. xiii. p. 245. in the Account by the Minister of Dumfries, are some observations on 
a remarkably romantic Linn formed by the water of the Cricliup, inaccessible in a great measure to real beings. 
" This Linn wa? considered as the habitation of imaginary ones ; and at the entrance into it there was a curious 
Cell or Cave, called the Elf's Kirk, where, according to the superstition of the Times, the imaginary inha- 
bitants of the Linn were supposed to hold their meetings. This Cave, proving a good free-stone Quarry, has 
lately (1794) been demolished for the purpose of building Houses, and from being the abode of Elves, lias been 
converted into habitations for Men." 


whether any thing can be imagined to go beyond the flights of his Imagination 
on this subject; and it seems to realize all that has been fabled of Magic, when 

they visit, for they fly Vice. A person would be thought impudently prophane, who should suffer 
his Family to go to bed without having first set a Tub, or Pail full of clean water, for these 
Guests to bathe themselves in, which the Natives aver they constantly do, as soon as the eyes of 
the Family are closed, wherever they vouchsafe to come. If any thing happen to be mislaid, and 
found again, they presently tell you a Fairy took it and returned it. If you chance to get a fall, 
and hurt yourself, a Fairy laid something in your way to throw you down, as a punishment for 
some sin you have committed." 

Ibid. p. 133. we are told the Fairies are supposed to be fond of Hunting. " There is no per- 
suading the Inhabitants but that these Huntings are frequent in the Island, and that these little 
gentry, being too proud to ride on Manks horses, which they might find in the field, make use of 
the English and Irish ones, which are broxight over and kept by Gentlemen. They say that no- 
thing is more common than to find these poor beasts in a morning all over sweat and foam, and 
tired almost to death, when their owners have believed they have never been out of the stable. A 
Gentleman of Balla-fletcher assured me he had three or four of his best Horses killed with these 
nocturnal journeys." 

In Heron's Journey thro' part of Scotland, Svo. Perth, 1799. vol. ii. p. 227- we read : " The 
Fames are little beings of a doubtful character, sometimes benevolent, sometimes mischievous. 
On Hallowe'en, and on some other evenings, they and the Gyar-Carlins are sure to be abroad and 
to stop those they meet and are displeased with, full of butter and beare-awns. In Winter nights 
they are heard curling on every sheet of Ice. Having a septennial sacrifice of a human being to 
make to the Devil, they sometimes carry away Children, leaving little vixens of their own in the 
Cradle. The diseases of Cattle are very commonly attributed to their mischievous operation. Cows 
are often Elf-shot." 

There are some most beautiful allusions to the Fairy Mythology in Bishop Corbet's Political 
Ballad entitled " The Fairies Farewell." 

" Farewell Rewards and Fairies, 

Good House Wives now may say; 
For now fovvle Sluts in Dairies 

Do fare as well as they : 
And, though they sweepe then- Hearths no lesse 

Then Maides were wont to doe, 
Yet who of late for cleanlinesse 

Findes Sixpence in her Shooe ? 
Lament, lament, old Abbies, 
The Fairies lost command, 
They did but change Priest's Babies, 
But some have chang'd your Land} 


he exerts his creative Fancy in giving to 

" These airy nothings 
A local habitation and a name." 

Lilly, in his Life and Times, tells us that Fairies love the Southern sides of 
Hills, Mountains, Groves, neatness and cleanness of Apparel, a strict Diet, and 
upright Life; "fervent Prayers unto God," he adds, "conduce much to the 
assistance of those who are curious these ways." He means, it should seem, 
those who wish to cultivate an acquaintance with them. 

Chaucer, through the gloom of a darker age, saw clearer into this matter. 
He is very facetious concerning them in his Canterbury Tales, where he puts 
his Creed of Fairy Mythology into the mouth of the Wife of Bath, thus : 
" In old Dayes of the King Artour 

Of which that Bretons speken gret honour, 

And all your Children stolne from thence 

Are now growne Puritans, 
Who live as Changelings ever since 

For love of your Demaines. 
At Morning and at Evening both 

You merry were and glad : 
So little care of sleepe and sloath 

These pretty Ladies had. 
When Tom came home from labour, 

Or Cisse to milking rose : 
Then merrily went their Tabor, 

And nimbly went their Toes. 

Witness those Rings and Roundelayes 

Of theirs which yet remaine, 
Were footed in Queen Maries dayes, 

On many a grassy plaine. 
A Tell-tale in their company 

They never could endure ; 
And whoso kept not secretly 

Their Mirth was punisht sure. 
It was a just and Christian deed 

To pinch such black and blew 5 
O how the Commonwelth doth need 

Such Justices as you!" 


All was this Loud fulfilled of Faerie, 
The Elf-Q.uene with hire jolie company 
Daunsed full oft in many a grene mede, 
This was the old opinion as I rede. 
I speke of many hundred yeres agoe, 
But now can no Man see non Elves mo. 
For now the grete Charite and Prayers 
Of Limitours and other holy Freres, 
That serchen every Lond and every Streme, 
As thik as Motes in the Sunne Berne, 

This maketh that there ben no Faeries 
For there as wont to walken was an Elfe, 
There walketh now the Limitour himself, 
And as he goeth in his Limitacioune, 
Wymen may now goe safely up and downe, 
In every bush, and under every tree, 
There nis none other Incubus but he ;" &c. 

In Poole's Parnassus, voce FAIRIES, are given the names of the Fairy Court; 

" Oberon the Emperor, Mob r the Empress. 

Perriwiggin, Perriwinckle, Puck, Hob-goblin, Tomalin, Tom Thumb, 

Hop, Mop, Drop, Pip, Trip, Skip, Tub, Tib, Tick, Pink, Pin, Quick, Gill, 
1m, Tit, Wap, Win, Nit, the Maids of Honour. 

Nymphidia, the Mother of the Maids." 

r Shakspeare's Portrait of Queen Mab must not be omitted here. He puts it into the mouth of 
Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet : 

" She is the Fairies' Midwife ; and she comes 
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone 
On the fore-finger of an Alderman, 
Drawn with a team of little atomies 
Athwart's men's noses as they lie asleep -. 
Her waggon-spokes made of long spinners' legs > 
The cover, of the wings of grasshoppers ; 
The traces, of the smallest spider's webj 
The collars, of the moonshine's wat'ry beams , 


Dr. Grey, in his Notes on Shakespear, vol. i. p. 50. gives us a description 
from other writers of Fairy-Land, a Fairy Entertainment, and Fairy Hunting. 

The first is from Randolph's Pastoral entitled " Amyntas, or the impossible 
Dowry," p. 36. It is not destitute of humour. " A curious Park paled round 
about with Pick-teeth a House made all with Mother of Pearle an ivory 
Tennis Court a nutmeg Parlour a saphyre Dairy Room a ginger Hall 

Her whip, of cricket's bone ; the lash, of film : 
Her waggoner, a small grey-coated gnat, 
Not half so big as a roxmd little worm 
Prick'd from the lazy finger of a maid : 
Her chariot is an empty hazel-nut, 
Made by the joiner squirrel, or old grub, 
Time out of mind the Fairies' coach-makers. 
And in this state she gallops night by night 
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love : 
On courtiers' knees, that dream on court'sies straight : 
O'er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees : 
O'er ladies' lips who straight on kisses dream; 
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, 
Because their breaths with sweet-meats tainted are. 
Sometimes she gallops o'er a courtier's nose, 
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit : 
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail, 
Tickling a parson's nose as 'a lies asleep, 
Then dreams he of another benefice : 
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck, 
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats, 
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades, 
Of healths five fathom deep ; and then anon 
Drums in his ear ; at which he starts, and wakes ; 
And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two, 
And sleeps again." 

I find the following in Poole's English Parnassus, p. 333. 
" There is Mab, the mistress Fairy, 
That doth nightly rob the Dairy, 
And can help or hurt the churning 
As she please without discerning. 


Chambers of Agate Kitchens all of Chrystal the Jacks are gold the Spits 
are all of Spanish Needles." 

She that pinches Country Wenches 
If they rub not clean their Benches : 
And with sharper nails remembers, 
When they rake not up the embers. 
But if so they chance to feast her, 
In their Shooe she drops a Tester. 
This is she that empties Cradles, 
Takes out Children, puts in Ladles. 
Trains forth Midwives in their slumber 
With a Sive, the holes to number ; 
And then leads them from their boroughs 
Thorough Ponds and Water-furrows." 

In the same Work I find a Fairy Song of exquisite beauty : 

" Come follow, follow me, You Fairy Elves that be, 

Which circle on the Green, Come follow me your Queen, 

Hand in hand let's dance a round, 
For this place is Fairy ground. 

When Mortals are at rest, And snorting in their Nest, 

Unheard and unespied, Through Key-holes we do glide ; 

Over Tables, Stools and Shelves, 

We trip it with our Fairy Elves. 

And if the House be foul, Or Platter, Dish, or Bowl, 

Up stairs we nimbly creep, And find the Sluts asleep; 

There we pinch their Arms and Thighs, 

None escapes, nor none espies. 

But, if the House be swept, And from uncleanness kept, 

We praise the Household Maid, And surely she is paid ; 

For we do use before we go 

To drop a Tester in her Shoe. 

Upon a Mushroom's head, Our Table we do spread ; 

A Corn of Rye or Wheat Is Manchet which we eat ; 

Pearly drops of Dew we drink, 

In Acorn Cups fill'd to the brink. 



The following, fitted for the above Jacks and Spits, is Dr. King's Descrip- 
tion of Orpheus' Fairy Entertainment : 

" A roasted Ant that's nicely done 
By one small atom of the Sun ; 
These are Flies Eggs in moon-shine poach" d ; 
This a Flea's thigh in Collops scotchM, 
'Twas hunted 1 yesterday i' th' Park, 
And like t' have scap'd us in the dark. 
This is a Dish entirely new, 
Butterflies Brains dissolv'd in Dew; 
These Lovers' Vows, these Courtiers' hopes, 
Things to he eat by Microscopes : 
These sucking Mites, a Glow-worm's heart, 
This a delicious Rainhow-Tart." 

King's Works, ed. 1776, vol. III. p. 112. 

The following, entitled " Obcron's Clothing,'' and " Oberon's Diet," found in 
Poole's English Parnassus, (already quoted in a Note,) almost exhaust the 
subject of Fairy oeconomv. 

The Brains of Nightingales : The unctuous Dow of Snails 

Between two Nut-shells stew'cl, Is Meat that's eas'ly chew'd : 

The Beards of Mice 

Do make a feast of wondrous price. 

On Tops of deny Grass, So nimbly we do pass, 

The young and tender stalk Ne'er bends when we do walk ; 

Yet in the morning may be seen 

W here we the night before have been. 

The Grashopper and Fly Serve for our Minstrelsie 

Grace said, we dnnce awhile, And so the lime beguile. 

And when the Moon doth hide her head, 
The Glow-worm lights us home to bed." 

a Randolph, ut supra, describes Fairy Hunting in a more magnificent manner. 

Dor. I hope King Oberon and his royal Mab are well ? 

./or. They are. I never saw their Graces eat such a Meal before. 

Joe. They are rid a hunting. 

Dor. Hare, or Deer, my Lord ? 

Joe. Neither ; a Brace of Snaih of the first head." 



Oberorfs Cloathing. 
"Then did the dwarfish Fairy Elves, 
(Having first attir'd themselves,) 
Prepare to dress their Oberon King 
In light Robes of revelling. 
In a Cob-web shirt, more thin 
Than ever Spider since could spin, 
Bleach'd by the whiteness of the Snow, 
As the stormy winds did blow 
It through the vast and freezing Air 
No shirt half so fine so fair. 
A rich Waistcoat they did bring 
Made of the Trout-fly's gilded -ving : 
At this his Elveship 'gan to fret, 
Swearing it would make him sweat 
Even with its weight; and needs would wear 
His Wast- coat wove of downy hair 
New shaven from an Eunuch's chin, 
That pleas'd him well, 'twas wondrous thin. 
The outside of his Doublet was 
Made of the four-leav'd true-love Grass, 
On which was set a comely gloss 
By the oyl of crisped Moss; 
That thro' a Mist of starry light, 
It made a Rainbow in the Night : 
On each seam there was a Lace 
Drawn by the unctuous Snail's slow trace ; 
To which the purest silver thread 
Compar'd did look like slubbev'd Lead : 
Each Button was a sparkling Eye 
Ta'en from the speckled Adder's fry ; 
Which, in a gloomy Night and dark, 
Twinkled like a fiery spark : 
And, for coolness, next his Skin, 
'Twas with white poppy lin'd within. 


His Breeches of that Fleece were wrought 

Which from Colchos Jason brought; 

Spun into so fine a yearn, 

Mortals might it not discern : 

Wove by Arauhne on her loom 

Just before she had her doom : 

Died Crimson with a Maiden's blush 

And lin'd with soft Dandalion plush. 

A rich Mantle he did wear 

Made of silver Gossamere, 

Bestrowed over with a few 

Diamond drops of Morning Dew. 

His Cap was ail of Ladies Love, 

So passing light that it could move, 

If any humming Gnat or Flye 

But puff'd the Air in passing by. 

About it was a Wreath of pearl, 

Drop'd from the Eyes of some poor Girl 

Was pinch'd because she had forgot 

To leave clean Water in the Pot. 

And for feather he did wear 

Old Nisus fatal purple hair. 

A pair of Buskins they did bring, 

Of the Cow-Lady's coral wing, 

Inlaid with inky spots of jet, 

And lin'd with purple violet. 

His Belt was made of yellow leaves 

Pleated in small curious threaves, 

Beset with Amber Cowslip studs, 
And fring'd about with daisy-buds ; 
In which his bugle-horn was hung, 
Made of the babling Echo's tongue, 
Which set unto his Moon-burnt lips 
He winds and then his Fairies skips: 
And whilst the lazy Drone doth sound 

Each one doth trip a Fairy round." 


" Oberorfs Diet. 

A little Mushroom Table spread 
After a dance, they set on bread. 
A yellow corn of parkey wheat 
With some small sandy Grits to eat 
His choice bits with; and in a trice 
They make a feast less great than nice. 
But all this while his Eye was serv'd 
We cannot think his Ear was starv'd ; 
But that there was in place to stir 
His Ears the pittering Grashopper; 
The merry Cricket, the puling Fly, 
The piping Gnat's shrill Minstrelsie ; 
The humming Dor, the dying Swan, 
And each a chief Musitiau. 

But now we must imagine, first, 
The Elves present to quench his thirst 
A Chrystal Pearl of infant Dew, 
Brought and besweeten'd in a blew 
And pregnant Violet ; which done, 
His kittling eyes began to run, 
Quite thro' the Table, where he spies 
The Horns of papery Butterflies ; 
Neat cool allay of Cuckow-Spittle. 
Of which he eats, but with a little 
A little Furze- Ball-Pudding stands, 
And yet not blessed with his hands, 
That seem'd too coarse, but he not spares 
To feed upon the candid hairs 
Of a dried Canker, and the lag 
And well-bestrutted Bees sweet Bag. 
Stroking his palat with some store 
Of Emmett's Eggs ; what will he more, 
But Beards of Mice and Gnat's stew'd thigh, 
A pickled Maggot and a dry 


Hep, with a red-cap Worm that's shut 

Within the Concave of a Nut ? 

Brown as his tooth is, with the fat 

Well rooted Eyeball of a Bat ; 

A bloted Earwig, and the pith 

Of sugred Rush, he glads him with. 

But, most of all, the Glow-worms fire 

As. much hetickling his desire 

To burn his Queen ; mixt with the far 

Fetch' d binding Jelly of a Star : 

With wither'd Cherries, Mandrake's Ears, 

Mole's Eyes; to these the slain Stag's tears, 

The unctious Dewlaps of a Snail, 

The broke-heart of a Nightingale 

O'ercome with Musick ; with a Wine 

Ne'er ravish'd with a cluster'd Vine, 

But gently strained from the side 

Of a most sweet and dainty Bride ; 

Brought in a claizy Chalice, which 

He fully quaffs up, to bewitch 

His blood to height. This done, commends 

Grace to his Priest, and the feast ends a ." 

* A Charm against Fairies was turning the Cloak. Thus Bishop Corbet in his Iter Boreale : 

" William found 

A meanes for our deliv'rance ; turne your Cloakes 
Quoth hee, for Pucke is busy in these Oakes : 
If ever wee at Bosworth will be found 
Then turne your Cloakes, for this is Fairy Ground." 

From another Passage in the above Iter Boreale, it should seem that there was a popular belief 
that if you struck a Fairy or walking Spirit that it would dissolve into Air. Our prelate was just 
mentioning the turning of the Cloak above : 

" But, ere the Witchcraft was perform'd, we meete 
A very Man, who had not cloven feete, 
Tho' William, still of little faith, doth doubt, 
'TSs Robin or some Spirit walkes about. 



alias PUCKE, alias HOH-GOBUN. 
Robin Goodfellow, alias Pucke, alias Hobgoblin, says Dr. Percv, in the 

Strike him, quoth he, and it will turns to aire, 

Crosse yourselves thrice, and strike him strike that dare 

Thought I, for sure this massie Forester 

In Blows will prove the better Conjurer." 

The Bishop was right, for it proved to be the Keeper of the Forest, who shewed them their way 
which they had lost. 

In a curious and rare Book entitled " Paradoxical Assertions and Philosophical Problems, by 
R.H. 8vo. Lond. 1664. 2d Part p. 14. "Why Englishmen creep to the Chimney in Winter and Sum> 
mer also ?" we read : " Doth not the warm Zeal of an Englishman's Devotion (who was ever ob- 
served to contend most stifiy pro aris et focis) make them maintain and defend the sacred Hearth, 
as the Sanctuary and chief place of Residence of the tutelary Lares and Household Gods, and the 
only Court where the Lady Fairies convene to dance and revel ?" 

Aubrey, in his Miscellanies, p. 159. gives us the following most important piece of Information 
respecting Fairies : " When Fairies remove from place to place they are said to use the words 
Horse and Ifattock*." 

In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. iv. 8vo. Edinb. 1792. p. 560. The 
Minister of the parishes of Strachur and Stralachlan in Argylcshire, tells us, in his description of 
them, that "About eight miles to the eastward of Cailleach-vear, a small conical Hill rises consi- 
derably above the neighbouring Hills. It is seen from Inverary, and from many parts at a great 
distance. It is called Sien-Sluai, the fairy habitation of a multitude :" Adding in a note, " A I?i;- 
lief in Fairies prevailed very much in the Highlands of old : nor at this Day is it quite obliterated. 

* In the British Apollo, fol. Loncl. I"03. vol i. No. I. supernumerary for April; we are told, " The opinion of 
Fairies has been asserted by Pliny and several Historians, and Aristotle himself Rave some countenance to it, 
whose words are these : Efi Si o reirot &c. i. e. Hie Locus est quern iiicolunt Pymei, non est Fabula, sud pusilluro 
Genus ut aiuut: wherein Aristotle plays the Sophist. For though by ' non est Fabula' he si'ems at first to confirm 
it, yet coming in at last with his ' ut aiunt,' he shakes the belief he had before put upon it. Our Society, there- 
fore, are of opinion, that Homer was the first author of this conceit, who oftrn used Similias, as well to delight 
the ear as to illustrate his matter: and in his third Iliad compares the Trojans to Cranes, when they descend 
against Fairies. So that, that which was only a pleasant fiction in the Fountain, became a solcum story in thq 
Stream, and Current still among; us." 

In the same Work, vol. i. No. 25. Fairy Rings are ascribed to Lightning. 


Creed of antient Superstition was a kind of merry Sprite whose character and 

A small conical Hill, called Sien, was assigned them for a duelling, from which melodious Music 
was frequently heard, and gleams of Light seen in dark nights." 

Ibid. vol. xii. p. 461. Statistical Account of Kirkniichael, we read : " Not more firmly established 
in this country is the belief in Ghosts than that in Fairies. The legendary records of fancy, trans- 
mitted from age to age, have assigned their mansions to that class of Genii, in detached hillocks 
covered with verdure, situated on the banks of purling brooks, or surrounded by thickets of wood. 
These hillocks are called sioth-dhunan, abbreviated sioth-anan, from sioth, peace, and dun, a 
mound. They derive this name from the practice of the Druids, who were wont occasionally to 
retire to green eminences to administer justice, establish peace, and compose differences between 
contending parties. As that venerable order taught a Saoghl hal, or World beyond the present, their 
followers, when they were no more, fondly imagined, that seats where they exercised a virtue so 
beneficial to mankind, were still inhabited by them in their disembodied state. In the autumnal 
season, when the moon shines from a serene sky, often is the way-faring traveller arrested by the 
inusick of the Hills, more melodious than the strains of Orpheus. Often struck with a more solemn 
scene, he beholds the visionary hunters engaged in the chace, and pursuing the deer of the clouds, 
while the hollow,rocks, in long-sounding echoes, reverberate their cries." 

" There are several now living, who assert that they have seen and heard this aerial hunting , 
and that they have been suddenly surrounded by visionary forms, and assailed by a multitude of 

" About fifty years ago, a clergyman in the neighbourhood, whose faith was more regulated by 
the scepticism of Philosophy than the credulity of Superstition, could not be prevailed upon to 
yield his assent to the opinion of the times. At length, however, he felt from experience, that he 
doubted what he ought to have believed. One night as he was returning home, at a late hour, 
from a presbytery, he was seized by the Fairies, and carried aloft into the air. Through fields of 
aether and fleecy-clouds he journied many a mile, descrying, like Sancho Panza on his Clavileno, 
the earth far distant below him, and no bigger than a nut-shell. Being thus sufficiently convinced 
of the reality of their existence, they let him down at the door of his own house, where he after- 
ward often recited to the wondering Circle, the marvellous tale of his adventure*." 

A Note in p. 462. adds : " Notwithstanding the progressive increase of Knowledge, and propor- 
tional decay of superstition in the Highlands, these genii are still supposed by many of the people to 
txist in the woods and sequestered valleys of the mountains, where they frequently appear to the 
lonely traveller, clothed in green, with dishevelled hair floating over their shoulders, and with faces 
more blooming ttian the vermil blush of a summer morning. At night in particular, when 

* In plain English, I should suspect that Spirits of a different sort from Fairies had taken the honest clergy- 
man by the head, and though he has omitted the circumstance in hi? marvellous narration, I have no doubt 
hut that the good man saw double on the occasion, and that his own Mare, not Fairies, landed him safe at liis 
own door. J. B. 


achievements are recorded in the following Ballad: Peck attributes it to 

fancy assimilates to its own preconceived ideas every appearance, and every sound, the wandering 
Enthusiast is frequently entertained by their musick, more melodious than he ever before heard. 
It is curious to observe, how much this agreeable delusion corresponds with the superstitious opi- 
nion of the Romans, concerning the same class of genii, represented under different names. The 
Epicurean Lucretius describes the credulity in the following beautiful verses : 

" Haec loca capripedes satyros, nymphasque tenere 
Finitimi pingunt, et faunos esse loquuntur ; 
Quorum noctivago strepitu, ludoque jocanti 
Adfirmant volgo taciturna silentia rumpi 
Chordarumque sonos fieri, dulceisque querelas 
Tibia tjiias fundit digitis pulsata canentum :" 

The Fauni are derived from the Eubates or Faidhin of the Celtae. Faidh is a prophet ; hence is 
derived the Roman word /art, to prophecy." 

In the same Work, vol. xv. (8vo. Edinb. 1795.) p. 430. Parishes of Stronsay and Eday, co. of 
Orkney, we read : " The common people of this district remain to this day so credulous, as to 
think that Fairies do exist ; that an inferior species of Witch-craft is still practised, and that Houses 
have been haunted, not only in former ages, but that they are haunted, at least Noises are heard 
which cannot be accounted for on rational principles, even in our Days. An instance of the latter 
happened only three years ago, in the house of John Spence, boat-carpenter *." 

The following from O'Brien's Diet. Hib. is cited by Gen. Vallancey in a Note in his Collectanea 
de Rebus Hibernicis, vol. iii. p. 461. " Sith-bhreog, the same as Sigh-brog, a fairy ; hence Bean- 
sighe, plural Mna-sighe, Women Fairies ; credulously supposed by the common people to be so 
affected to certain Families, that they are heard to sing mournful lamentations about their Houses 
by Night, whenever any of the family labours under a sickness, which is to end by Death : but 
no Families, which are not of an ancient and noble stock, (of Oriental extraction he should have 
said,) are believed to be honoured with this fairy-privilege. 

In a very rare Tract in my possession, intitled " Strange and wonderful News from the County 
of Wicklowin Ireland, &c. What happened to one Dr. Moore (late School master in London) how 
he was invisibly taken from his Friends, &c." 4to. Lond. 1678. we read p. 1. how Dr. Moore said 
'to his Friend that " he had been often told by his Mother, and several others of his Relations, of 
Spirits which they called Fairies, who used frequently to carry him away, and continue him with 
them for some time, without doing him the least prejudice : hut his Mother being very much 

* " The Queen ofFairie mentioned in Jean Weir's Indictment, is probably the same Sovereign with the Queen 
qf Elf-land, who makes a figure in the Case of Alison Pearson, 15th May 1588 ; which I believe is the first of 
the kind in the Record." Additions and Notes to Maclaurin's Arguments and Decisions in remarkable Cases. 
Law Courts, Scotland. 4to. Edinb. 1774. p. 726. 



Ben Jonson. It seems to have been originally intended for some 
Masque a . 

" From Oberon, in fairye land, 

The King of ghosts and shadowes there, 
Mad Robin I, at his command, 

Am sent to viewe the night-sports here. 
What revell rout 
Is kept about, 
In every corner where I go, 
I will o'er see, 
And merry bee, 
And make good sport, with ho, ho, ho ! 

More swift than lightening can I flye 

About this aery welkin soone, 
And, in a minute's space, descrye 

Each thing that's done belowe the moone, 

There's not a hag 

Or ghost shall wag, 
Or cry, ware Goblins ! where I go; 

But Robin I 

There feates will spy, 
And send them home, with ho, ho, ho ! 

frighted and concerned thereat, did, as often as he was missing, send to a certain old Woman, 
her neighbour in the country, who by repeating some Spells or Exorcisms, would suddenly cause 
his return." His Friend very naturally disbelieved the Facts, " while the Doctor did positively 
affirm the Truth thereof." But the most strange and wonderful part of the story is, that during 
the dispute the Doctor was carried off suddenly by some of those invisible Gentry, though forcibly 
held by two persons ; nor did he return to the Company till six o'clock the next morning both 
hungry and thirsty, having, as he asserted, " been hurried from place to place all that night.'' 
At the end of this marvellous narration is the following Advertisement : " For satisfaction of the 
Licenser, I certifie this following" (it ought to have been preceding) '' Relation was sent to me 
from Dublin by a person whom I credit, and recommended in a Letter bearing date the 23d of 
November last as true News much spoken of there. John Cother." The Licenser of the Day must 
have been satisfied, for the Tract was printed ; but who will undertake to give a similar satisfac- 
tion on the subject to the readers of the, present age ? 

See the Reliques of Antient English Poetry," 8vo. Lond. 1794. vol. iii. p. 203. 


Whene'er such wanderers I meete, 

As from their night-sports they trudge home ; 
With counterfeiting voice I greete 
And call them on, with me to roame 
Thro' woods, thro' lakes, 
Thro' bogs, thro' brakes ; 
Or else, unseene, with them I go, 
All in the nicke 
To play some tricke 
And frolicke it, with ho, ho, ho ! 

Sometimes I meete them like a man ; 

Sometimes, an ox ; sometimes, a hound ; 
And to a horse I turn me can ; 

To trip and trot about them round. 
But if, to ride, 
My backe they stride, 
More swift than wind away I go, 
Ore hedge and lands, 
Thro' pools and ponds 
I whirry, laughing, ho, ho, ho ! 

When lads and lasses merry be, 

With possets and with juncates fine ; 
Unseene of all the company, 
I eat their cakes and sip their wine ; 

And to make sport, 

I fart and snort ; 
And out the Candles I do blow : 

The maids I kiss ; 

They shrieke Who 's this? 
I answer nought, but ho, ho, ho ! 

Yet, now and then, the maids to please, 

At midnight I card up their wooll ; 
And while they sleepe, and take their ease, 

With wheel to thread^ their flax I pull. 


I grind at mill 

Their malt up still ; 
I dress their hemp, I spin their tow. 

If any 'wake, 

And would me take, 
I wend me, laughing, ho, he, ho ! 

When house or harth doth sluttish lye, 
I pinch the maidens black and blue ; 
The bed-clothes from the bedd pull I, 
And lay them naked all to view. 

'Twixt sleepe and wake, 

I do them take, 
And on the key-cold floor them throw. 

If out they cry, 

Then forth I fly, 
And loudly laugh out, ho, ho, ho? 

When any need to borrowe ought, 

We lend them what they do require; 
And for the use demand we nought ; 
Our owne is all we do desire. 

If to repay, 

They do delay, 
Abroad amongst them then I go, 

And night by night, 

I them affright 
With pinchings, dreames, and ho, ho, ho! 

When lazie queans have nought to do, 

But study how to cog and lye ; 
To make debate and mischief too, 
'Twixt one another secretlye : 

I mark their gloze, 

And it disclose 
To them whom they have wronged so ; 

When I have done, 

And leave them scolding, bo, ho, ho ! 


When men do traps and engins set 

In loop-holes, where the vermine creepe, 
Who from their foldes and houses get 

Their Duckes and Geese, and Lambes and Sheepe : 

I spy the gin, 

And enter in, 
And seeme a Vermin taken so ; 

But when they there 

Approach me neare, 
I leap out laughing, ho, ho, ho ! 

By wells and rills, in meadowes greene, 
We nightly dance our hey-day guise ; 
And to our fairye king, and queene, 

We chaunt our moon- light minstrelsies. 

When larks 'gin sing, 

Away we fling ; 
And babes new borne steal as we go, 

And elfe in bt d, 

We leave instead, 
And wend us laughing, ho, ho, ho ! 

From hag-bred Merlin's time have I 

Thus nightly revell'd to and fro ; 
And for my pranks men call me by 
The name ot Robin Good-fellow. 

Fiends, ghosts, and sprites, 

Who haunt the nightes, 
The hags and goblins do me know ; 

And beldames old 

My feates have told ; 
So Vale, Vale ; ho, ho, ho !" 

Shakspeare has also given us a description of Robin Goodfellow in the Mid- 
summer-Night's Dream: 

*' Either I mistake your shape and making quite, 
Or else you are that shrewd and knavish sprite, 


Call'd Robin Good-fellow : are you not he, 
That fright the maidens of the villagery ; 
Skim milk ; and sometimes labour in the quern, 
And bootless make the breathless housewife churn ; 
And sometimes make the drink to bear no barm ; 
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at the>r harm ? 
Those that Hobgoblin call you, and sweet Puck, 
You do their work, and they shall have good luck." 

This Account of Robin Good-fellow, says Mr. Warton, corresponds, in every 
article, with that given of him in Harsenet's Declaration, ch. xx. p. 134. "And 
if that the bowle of curds and creame were not duly set out for Robin Good- 
fellow, the Frier, and Sisse the dairy-maid, why then either the pottage was 
burnt to next day in the pot, or the cheeses would not curdle, or the butter 
would not corne, or the ale in the fat never would have good head. But, if a 
Peeter-penny, or an housle-egge were behind, or a patch of tythe unpaid, then 
'ware of bull-beggars, sprites, &c." He is mentioned by Cartwright in his Ordi- 
nary, Act. iii. sc. 1 . as a Spirit particularly fond of disconcerting and disturbing 
domestic peace and economy. 

Reginald Scot gives the same Account of this frolicksome spirit, in his Dis- 
coverie of Witchcraft, 4to. Lond. 1584. p. 66. "Your grandame's maids were 
wont to set a bowl of milk for him, for his pains in grinding malt and mustard, 
and sweeping the house at midnight this white bread, and bread and milk, was 
his standing fee b ." 

There is the following pleasant passage concerning Robin Good-fellow in 
" Apothegms of King James, the Lord Bacon, &c." 12mo. Lond. 16*08. p. 139- 
shewing that persons of the first distinction were antiently no strangers to the 
characters of Fairies. '' Sir Fulk Greenvil had much and private accesse to 
Queen Elizabeth, which he used honourably, and did many men good. Yet 
he would say merrily of himself, that he was like Robin Good-fellow, for when 
the Maides spilt the Milk-pannes, or kept any racket, they would lay it upon 

b See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. vol. iv. p. 347. See also Warton's Notes on Milton's Poems upon 
several occasions." 8vo. Lond. 1785. p. 54. 


Robin, so what Tales the Ladies about the Queen told her, or other bad offices 
that they did, they would put it upon him." 

In Hampshire they give the name of Colt-pixy to a supposed Spirit or Fairy, 
which, in the shape of a horse, wickers, i. e. neighs, and misleads Horses into 
Bogs, &c. Sec Grose's Provincial Glossary, in verbo. 

I suspect Pixy to be a corruption of "Puckes," which antiently signified little 
better than the Devil, whence, in Shakspeare, the epithet of " sweet" is given to 
Puck, by way of qualification c ." 

Junius gives the following etymon of Hob-goblin. Casaubon, he says, de- 
rives Goblin from the Greek KoaXo, a kind of Spirit that was supposed to 
lurk about Houses. The Hobgoblins were a species of these, so called, because 
their motion was fabled to have been effected not so much by walking as hop- 
ping on one Leg. See Lye's Junii Etymologic. 

Hob, however, is nothing more than the usual contraction for Robert. 

In a curious old Quarto Tract by Samuel Rowlands, entitled " More Knaves 
yet. The Knaves of Spades and Diamonds," London, (date cut off,) Sign. F. 2. 
is the following passage of " Ghoasts and Goblins," in which we meet with a 
Robin Bad-fellow :" 

" In old Wives dales, that in ok! Time did live 
(To whose odde Tales much credit men did give) 
Great store of Goblins, Fairies, Bugs'*, Night-mares, 
Urchins, and Elves, to many a house repaires. 

c So the author of Piers Ploughman puts the Pouk for the Devil, fol. Ixxxx. B. v. penult. See 
also, fol. Ixvii. v. 15. " none helle poieke." 

It seems to have been an old Gothic word. Puke, puken; Sathanas, Gudm. And. Lexicon 

In the Bugbears, an ancient MS comedy, formerly in the possession of the Marquis of Lans- 
downe, 1 likewise met with this appellation of a fiend : 

" Puckes, Piickerels, Hob Howlard, Bygorn, and Robin Goodfellow." 

But here, Puck and Robin Goodfellow are made distinct characters. See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 
8vo. Lond. 1803. vol. iv. p. 350. 

In the Glossary to Burns' Scottish Poems mention occurs of a mischievous kind of Spirits called 
" Kelpies," which are said to haunt Fords and Ferries at Night, especially in Storms. 

A Bogle-boe, which seems, at least in sound, to bear some affinity to Hob-gobliu, is said to be 


Yea far more Sprites did haunt in divers places 
Then there be Women now weare devils faces. 

derived from the Welsh bwgwly, to terrify, and Boe, a frightful sound invented by Nurses to in- 
timidate their Children into good behaviour, with the idea of some monster about to take them 
away. Skinner seems to fetch it from Buculus, i. e. bos boons, a lowing Ox. See Lye's Junii 
Etymolog. in verbo. Well has Etymology been called Eruditio ad libitum. 

Boggle-bo, says Coles, in his Latin Dictionary, 1678, (now corruptly sounded Bugabow,) sig- 
nified " an ugly wide-mouthed picture carried about with May-Games." It is perhaps nothing 
more than the diminutive of Bug, a terrifying object 

[In Mathews's Bible, Psalm xci. v. 5. is rendered, " Thou shall not nede to be afraied for any 
Bugs by night." In the Hebrew it is " terror of the Night ;" a curious passage, evidently alluding 
to that horrible sensation the Night-Mare, which in all ages has been regarded as the operation 
of evil Spirits. Compare Mr. Douce's Illustr. of Ane. Manners and of Shakspeare. vol. i. p. 328.] 

Boh, Mr. Warton tells us, was one of the most lierce and formidable of the Gothic Generals, 
and the son of Odin : the mention of whose name only was sufficient to spread an immediate 
panic among his enemies. Few will question the probability of an opinion that has the sanction 
of the very ingenious person who has advanced this : it is an additional instance of the inconstancy 
of Fame. The Terror of Warriors has dwindled down into a name contemptible with Men, and 
only retained for the purpose of intimidating Children. A Reflection as mortifying to human 
vanity as that of our Poet Shakspeare, whose Imagination traced the noble dust of Alexander till 
he found it stopping a Bung-hole. See Hamlet. 

Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. viii. p. 219. (edit. 1789-90.) speak- 
ing of the General of the Persian Monarch Chosroes, in the beginning of the seventh century, says: 
" the name of Norses was the formidable sound with which the Assyrian Mothers were accustomed 
to terrify their Infants." 

The same writer, Ibid. vol. xi. p. 146. speaking of our Richard Plantagenet, Coeur de Lion, 
who was in Palestine, A. D. 1 192. says : " the memory of this Lion-hearted Prince, at the distance 
of sixty years, was celebrated in proverbial sayings by the Grandsons of the Turks and Saracens 
against whom he had fought ; his tremendous name was employed by the Syrian Mothers to silence 
their Infants ; and if a horse suddenly started from the way, his Rider was wont to exclaim, dost 
thou think King Richard is in that bush ?" 

Vol. xii. p. 166. He says, speaking of Huniades, titular King of Hungary, about A. D. 1456. 
" By the Turks, who employed his name to frighten their perverse Children, he was corruptly 
denominated Jancus Lain, or the wicked." 

Among the objects to terrify Children we must not forget " Raw Head and bloody Bones," who 
twice occurs in Butler's Hudibras : 

" Turns meek and secret sneaking ones 
To Raw-heads fierce and Bloody bones." 

Part III. Canto ii. 1. 681. 


Amongst the rest was a Good Fellow devill, 
So cal'd in kindnes, cause he did no evill, 
Knowne by the name of Robin (as we heare) 
And that his Eyes as broad as sawcers weare, 
Who came a nights and would make Kitchens cleanc, 
And in the bed bepinch a lazy Queane. 
Was much in Mils about the grinding Meale, 
(And sure, I take it, taught the Miller steale) ; 
Amongst the Creame-bowles and Milke-pans would be, 
And with the Country wenches, who but he 
To wash their Irishes for some fresh Cheese hire, 
Or set their pots and kettles 'bout the Fire. 
'Twas a mad Robin that did divers pranckes, 
For which with some good cheare they gave him thankes, 
And that was all the kindness he expected, 
With gaine (it seemes) he was not much infected. 
But as that Time is past, that Robin's gone, 
He and his Night-mates are to us unknowne, 
And in the steed of such Good-fellow sprites 
We meet with Robin Sad-Fellow a nights, 
That enters Houses secret in the darke, 
And only comes to pilfer, steale, and sharke, 
And as the one made dishes cleane, (they say) 
The other takes them quite and cleane away. 
What'ere it be that is within his reach, 
The filching Tricke he doth his fingers teach. 
But as Good-Fellow-Robin had reward 
" With Milke and Creame that Friends for him prepar'd, 
For being busy all the night in vaine, 
(Though in the morning all things safe remaine,) 

And, . " Made Children with your Tones to run for't 

As bad as Bloody bonet or Lunsford." 

Ibid. 1. Ull. 

Luusford was an Officer's name, said to have been cruel to Women and Children. >See Granger, 
vol. ii. p. 243. note. 

VOL. II. 5 A 


Robin Bad-Fellow wanting such a Supper, 
Shall have his Breakfast with a Rope and Butter, 
To which let all his Fellows be invited, 
That with such Deeds of Darknesse are delighted." 



the APPARITION of the 

THERE is no vulgar story of the Devil's having appeared any where without 
a cloven foot a . It is observable also that this infernal Enemy, in graphic repre- 
sentations of him, is seldom or never pictured without one. 

The learned Sir Thomas Browne is full on this subject of popular superstition 
in his Vulgar Errors : " The ground of this opinion at first," says he, " might be 
his frequent appearing in the shape of a Goat b ," (this accounts also for his 
Horns and Tail,) "which answers this description. This was the opinion of 
the antient Christians, concerning the Apparition of Panites, Fauns, and Satyrs; 
and of this form we read of one that appeared to Anthony in the Wilderness. 

Othello says, in the Moor of Venice, 

" I look down towards his Feet ; but that's a Fable; 

If that thou be'st a Devil, I cannot kill thee ;" 

which Dr. Johnson explains : " I look towards his feet, to see, if, according to the common opi- 
nion, his feet be cloven." See Reed's edit, of Shaksp. 1803. vol. six. p. 515. 

* There is a popular superstition relative to Goats : they are supposed never to be seen for 
twenty-four hours together ; and that once in that space, they pay a visit to the Devil in order to 
have their beards combed. This is common both in England and Scotland. 


The same is also confirmed from expositions of Holy Scripture. For whereas 
it is said, Thou shalt not offer unto Devils : the original word is Seghuirim, that 
is, rough and hairy Goats, because in that shape the Devil most often appeared, 
as is expounded by the Rabins, as Tremellius hath also explained, and as the 
word Ascimah, the God of Emath, is by some conceived." He observes, also, 
that the Goat was the emblem of the Sin-offering, and is the emblem of sinful 
Men at the Day of Judgement c . 

The learned and pious Mede, also, in his Discourses, has ventured some 
thoughts on this subject, as follows : " The Devil could not appear in humane 
shape, while man was in his integrity; because he was a Spirit fallen from 
his first glorious perfection, and therefore must appear in such shape which 

c It is observed in the Connoisseur, No. 109. that " the famous Sir Thomas Browne refuted the 
generally-received opinion, that the Devil is black *, has horns upon his head, wears a long curl- 
ing Tail and a cloven stump: nay has even denied that, wheresoever he goes, he always leaves a 
smell of Brimstone behind him." 

In Massinger's Virgin-Martyr, 4to. 1658. Act iii. se. 1. Harpax, an evil Spirit, following Theo- 
philus in the shape of a Secretary, speaks thus of the superstitious Christians' description of his 
infernal Master : 

" I'll tell you what now of the Devil : 
He's no such horrid creature ; cloven-footed, 
Black, saucer-ey'd, his nostrils breathing fire, 
As these lying Christians make him." 

Reginald Scot, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, edit. 1665. p. 85. has the following curious passage 
on this subject: " In our childhood, our Mother's Maids have so terrified us with an ugly Devil, 
having horns on his head, fire in his mouth, and a tail in his breech, eyes like a Bason, fangs like a 
Dog, claws like a Bear, a skin like a Niger, and a voycc roaring like a Lyon, whereby we start 
and arc afraid when we hear one cry Bough!" He adds : " and they have so frayed us with Bul- 
beggars, Spirits, Witches, Urchens, Elves, Hags, Fairies, Satyrs, Pans, Faunes, Sylens, Kit with 
the canstick, Tritons, Centaures, Dwarfes, Gyants, Imps, Calcars, Conjurers, Nymphes, Change- 
lings, Incubus, Robin Good-fellow, the Spoorn, the Mare, the Man in the Oak, the Hell-wain, 
the Fire-drake, the Puckle, Tom-thombe, Hob-goblin, Tom-tumbler, Boneless, and such other 
Bugs, that we are afraid of our own Shadowes ; insomuch that some never feare the Devil but in 
a darkc night, &c." 

* Sir Thomas Browne informs us " that the Moors describe the Devil and terrible object* while." Vulgar 
Errors, p. 281. In "Sphinx and (Edipus, or a Helpe to Discourse," 8vo. Lond. 1632. p. 271. 1 read that the 
Devil never appears in the shape of a Dove, or a Lamb, but in those of Goats, Dogs, and Cats, or such like; 
and that to the Witch of Edmunton he appeared in the shape of a Dog, and called bis name Dom," 


might argue his imperfection and abasement, which was the shape of a beast : 
otherwise, no reason can be given why he should not rather have appeared ta 
Eve in the shape of a woman, than of a serpent. But, since the fall of man, 
the case is altered ; now we know he can take upon him the shape of man. He 
appears, it seems, in the shape of man's imperfection, either for age or defor- 
mity, as like an old man, (for so the witches say ;) and perhaps it is not altoge- 
ther false, which is vulgarly affirmed, that the Devil, appearing in human shape, 
has always a deformity of some uncouth member or other ; as though he could 
not yet take upon him human shape intirely, for that man himself is not intirely 
and utterly fallen, as he is d ." 

OLD NICK is the vulgar name of this evil Being 6 in the North of England, 
and is a name of great antiquity. There is a great deal of learning concerning 
it in Olaus Wormius's Danish Monuments. We borrowed it from the title of 
an evil Genius among the antient Danes. They say he has often appeared on 

4 Mede, Disc. 4O. Grose says : "Although the Devil can partly transform himself into a variety 
of shapes, he cannot change his cloven foot, which will always mark him under every appearance." 

This infernal Visitant appears in no instance to have been treated with more sang froid on his 
appearing, or rather, perhaps, his imagined appearance, than by one Mr. White of Dorchester, 
Assessor to the Westminster Assembly at Lambeth, as published by Mr. Samuel Clark : " The 
Devil, in a light night, stood by his bed-side : he looked awhile whether he would say or do any 
thing, and then said, ' If thou hast nothing else to do, I have ;' and so turned himself to sleep." 
Baxter's World of Spirits, p. 63. 

He adds, that " many say it from Mr. White himself." One has only to wonder, on this occa- 
sion, that a person who could so effectually lay the Devil, could have been induced to think, or 
rather dream, of raising him. 

An Essayist in the Gent. Mag. for Oct. 1732, vol. ii. p. 1001, observes, that, "As for the great 
Evil Spirit, 'tis for his interest to be masked and invisible. Amongst his sworn vassals and sub- 
jects he may allow himself to appear in disguise at a public Paw-wawing, (which is attested by a 
cloud of travellers,) but there is no instance of his appearing among us, except that produced by 
Mr. Echard, to a man in so close confederacy with him, that 't was reasonable to suppose they 
should now and then contrive a personal meeting." 

Thus Butler, in Hudibras, Part III. Cant. i. 1. 1313 : 

" Nick Machiavel had ne'er a trick 
(Though he gives name to our old Nick)." 

We may observe on this passage, however, that he was called old Nitk many ages before the 
famous, or rather infamous, Nicholas Machiavel was born, 


the sea and on deep rivers in the shape of a sea monster, presaging immediate; 
shipwreck and drowning to seamen*. 

In the North of England OLD HARRY is also one of the popular names of the 
Devil. There is a verb "to harrie," to lay waste, to destroy, but perhaps it is 
not to be derived from thence. 

OLD SCRATCH, and the AULD ANE, i. e. the Old One, are also names ap- 
propriated to the same evil Being by the vulgar in the North of England. The 
epithet Old to so many of his titles, seems to favour the common opinion that 
he can only appear in the shape of an old man. 

DEUCE may be said to be another popular name for the Devil. Few, per- 
haps, who make use of the expression " Deuce take you," particularly those of 

f See Lye's Junii Etymolog. in . NICK. 

A writer in the Gent. Mag. for March 1777, vol. xlvii. p. 119, says, "Nobody has accounted 
for the Devil's having the name of Old Nick. Keysler, de Dea Nelialeunia, p.-33, and Amiq. 
Septentr. p. 261, mentions a Deity of the Waters worshipped by the antient Germans and Danes 
under the name of Nocca, or Nicken, styled in the Edda Nikur, which he derives from the Ger- 
man Nugen, answering to the Latin necare. Wormius, Mon. Dan. p. 17, says, the redness in 
the faces of drowned persons was ascribed to this Deity's sucking their blood out at their nostrils. 
Wasthovius, Pref. ad Vit. Sanctorum, and Loccenius, Antiq. Sueo-Goth. p. 17, call him Neccus, 
and quote, from a Belgo-Gallic Dictionary, Neccer, Spiritus aquaticus, and Necce necare. The 
Islandic Dictionary in Hickes, Thesaur. P. III. p. 85, renders Nikiir bellua aquatica. Lastly, 
Rudbekius, Atlant. P. I. c. vii. 5. p. 192, and c. xxx. p. 719, mentions a notion prevalent 
among his countrymen, that Neckur, who governed the sea, assumed the form of various ani- 
mals, or of a horseman, or of a man in a boat. He supposes him the same with Odin ; but the 
above authorities are sufficient to evince that he was the Northern Neptune, or some subordinate 
sea-god of a noxious disposition. It is not unlikely but the name of this evil spirit might, a 
Christianity prevailed in these Northern Nations, be transferred to the Father of Evil." 

St. Nicholas's Knights have been already referred, in the former volume of this Work, (p. 3C6,) 
to Old Nick. 

St. Nicholas, says the writer in the Gent. Mag. above-quoted, was the patron of mariners, con- 
sequently opponent to Nicker. How he came by this office docs not appear. The Legend says : 
" Ung jour que aucuns Mariniers perissoyent si le prierent ainsi a larmes, Nicolas, serviteur de 
Dieu, si les choses sont vrayes que nous avons ouyes, si les eprouve maintcnant. Et tantot ung 
homme s'apparut at la semblance de luy, & leur dit, veez moy, se ne m'appellez vous pas ; et 
leur commenca a leur ayder en leur exploit : de la ne fet. tantost la tempestate cessa. Et quant il* 
furent venus a son Eglise ilz se cogneurent sans demonstrer, & si ne i'avoiem oncques veu. Ef 
lors rendirent graces a Dieu & a luy de leur delivrance ; et il leur dit que ilz atti ibuassent a lu 
misericorde de Dieu et a leur Creance, et non pas a ses merites." 


the softer sex, who accompanying it with the gentle pat of a fan cannot be sup- 
posed to mean any ill by it, are aware that it is synonimous with " sending you 
to the Devil." Dusius was the antient popular name for a kind of Daemon or 
Devil among the Gauls, so that this saying, the meaning of which so few under- 
stand, has at least its antiquity to recommend it. It is mentioned in St. Austin, 
de Civitate Dei, as a libidinous Daemon e, who used to violate the chastity of 
women, and, with the Incubus of old, was charged with doing a great deal of 
mischief of so subtle a nature, that, as none saw it, it did not seem possible to 
be prevented. Later times have done both these Devils justice, candidly sup- 
posing them to have been much traduced by a certain set of delinquents, who 
used to father upon invisible and imaginary agents the crimes of real men. 

Mr. Pennant, in his Tour through South Wales, p. 28, noticing the whiten- 
ing of houses, says: "This custom, which we observed to be so universally 
followed from the time we entered Glamorganshire, made me curious enough to 
enquire into its origin, which it owes entirely to superstition. The good people 
think that by means of this general whitening they shut the door of their houses 
against the Devil h ." 

" Quoniam crebcrrima fama est, multique se expertos, vel ab iis, qui experti esscnt, de quo- 
rum fide dubitandnm non est, audissc conformant Sylvanos et Faunos, quos vulgo Incubos vocant, 
improbos saspe extitisse mulieribus & earum appetisse ac peregisse Concubittim : ct quosdam 
Daemones quos Dusios nuncupant Galli, hanc assidue immunditiam et tentare & efficere, plures 
talcsque asseverar.t, ut hoc negare impudentiae videatur : non hinc audeo aliquid temere defi- 
nire, utrum aliqui Spiritus elemento aereo corporati, possint etiam hanc pati libidinem, ut quo- 
modo possunt, senticntibus feminis misceantur." cap. 23. 

The Glossary to Burns's Scottish Poems mentions HOIIKIE as one of the many names of the 

h In the Statistical Account of Scotland, vol. xx. Svo. Edinb. 1798. p. 17O. Parish of Sorn, 
County of Ayr, we are told : " There is a Tradition well authenticated that King James the fifth 
honoured his Treasurer Sir William Hamilton with a visit at Sorn Castle, on occasion of the mar- 
riage of his Daughter to Lord Seton. The King's visit at Sorn Castle took place in Winter ; and 
being heartily tired of his journey through so long a track of moor, moss, and miry clay, where 
there was neither road nor bridge, he is reported to have said with that good-humoured pleasantry 
which was a characteristic of so many of his Family, that ' were he to play the Deil a trick, 
he would send him from Glascow to Sorn in winter'." " The Trick now a-days," continues the rev. 
George Gordon who drew up this Account, " would not prove a very serious one ; for Satan, old 
as he is, might travel very comfortably one half of the way in a Mail-Coach, and the other half in 



" Nocte volant, puerosque petunt nutricis egentes ; 

Et vitiant cunis corpora rapta suis. 
Carpere dicuntur lactentia viscera rostris ; 
Et plenum poto sanguine guttur habent." 

Ovid. Fast. lib. vi. 1. 135. 

Waving the Consideration of the many Controversies formerly kept up on 
this subject, founded on misinterpretation of various passages in the sacred 
writings, it is my purpose, in the present Section, to consider Witchcraft only as 
a striking Article of popular Mythology : which however bids fair in another 
Century to be entirely forgotten. 

WITCHCRAFT is defined by Reginald Scot, in his Discovery, p. 284. to be, 
" in estimation of the vulgar people, a supernatural work, between a corporal 
old Woman and a spiritual Devil :" but, he adds, speaking his own sentiments 
on the subject, " it is, in truth, a cozening Art, wherein the name of God is 
abused, prophaned, and blasphemed, and his power attributed to a vile 

Perkins defines Witchcraft to be an Art serving for the working of Wonders 
by the assistance of the Devil, so far as God will permit. 

Delrio defines it to be an Art in which, by the power of the contract entered 
into with the Devil, some wonders are wrought, which pass the common under- 
standing 1 of Men. 

a Post Chaise. Neither would he be forced, like king James, for want of better accommodation, 
to sit down about mid-way, by the side of a Well, (hence called King's Well) and there take a cold 
refreshment in a cold Day. At the very same place he might now find a tolerable Inn and a warm 

Coles, in his Introduction to the Knowledge of Plants, p. 27. tells us that " there is one Herb, 
flat at the bottome, and seemeth as if the nether part of its root were bit off, and is called DeviFs 
bit, whereof it is reported that the Devill, knowing that that part of the Root would cure all Dis- 
eases, out of his inveterate malice tomaukinde, bites it off." 


Witchcraft, in modern estimation, is a kind of Sorcery, (especially in Women*) 
in which it is ridiculously supposed that an old woman, by entering into a con- 
tract with the Devil, is enabled in many instances to change the course of 
Nature, to raise winds, perform actions that require more than human strength, 
and to afflict those that offend her with the sharpest pains b . 

1 King James's reason, in his Daemonology, why there are or were twenty women given to 
Witchcraft for one man, is curious. " The reason is easy," as this sagacious Monarch thinks, 
" for as that Sex is frailer than Man is, so is it easier to be entrapped in these grosse Snares of the 
Divell, as was over well proved to be true, by the Serpent's deceiving of Eva at the beginning, which 
makes him the homelier with that Sexe sensine." His Majesty, in this Work quaintly calls the 
Devil, " God's Ape and Hangman." 

b VCitch is derived from the Dutch Witchelen, which signifies whinnying and neighing like a 
Horse : in a secondary sense, also, to foretell and prophecy ; because the Germans, as Tacitus in- 
forms us, used to divine and foretell things to come by the whinnying and neighing of their Horses. 
His words are, hinnltu etfremitu. 

In Glanvil's " Sadducissmus Triumphatus," postscript, p. \Z. Witch is derived from the verb 
" to weet," to know : i. e. " the knowing Woman," answering to the Latin Saga, which is of 
the same import. Wizzard he makes to signify the same, with the difference only of Sex. 

Gibbon, in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. viii. edit. 1789-9O. p. 157. speaking 
of the Laws of the Lombards, A. D. 643. tells us : " The Ignorance of the Lombards, in the state 
of Paganism or Christianity, gave implicit credit to the malice and mischief of Witchcraft : but 
the Judges of the seventeenth Century might have been instructed and confounded by the wisdom 
of Rotharis, who derides the absurd Superstition, and protects the wretched Victims of popular or 
judicial cruelty." He adds in a Note : " See Leges Rotharis, No. 379. p. 47. Striga is used as the 
name of Witch. It is of the purest classic origin. (Horat. Epod. v. 20. Petron. c. 134.) and from 
the words of Petronius (quoe Striges comederunt nervos tuos ?) it may be inferred that the preju- 
dice was of Italian rather than Barbaric extraction." 

Gaule, in his " Select Cases of Conscience touching Witches and Witchcrafts," 12mo. Lond. 
1046. observes, p. 4. " In every place and parish, every old Woman with a wrinkled face, a furr'd 
Brow, a hairy Lip, a gobber Tooth, a squint Eye, a squeaking Voice, a scolding Tongue, having 
a rugged Coate on her back, a skull-cap on her head, a spindle in her hand, a Dog or Cat by her 
side, is not only suspected but pronounced for a Witch." " Every new disease, notable accident, 
mirable of Nature, rarity of Art, nay and strange Work or just JirVjement of God, is by them ac- 
counted for no other but an act or effect of Witchcraft." He says, p. 10. " Some say the Devill 
was the first Witch when he plaid the Impostor with our first parents, possessing the Serpent 
(as his Impe) to their delusion. Gen. 3. and it is whispered that our grandame Eve was a little 
guilty of such kind of Society." 

Henry, in his History of Great Britain, vol. iv. p. 543. 4to. speaking of our manners between 
A.D. 1399. and 1485. says "There was not a Man then in England who entertained the least doubt 
of the reality of Sorcery, Necromancy, and other diabolical Arts." 


According to the popular belief on this subject, there are three sorts of 
Witches : the first kind can hurt but not help, and are with singular propriety 
called the Black Witches. 

The second kind, very properly called White ones, have gifts directly opposite 
to those of the former; they can help, but not huit c . 

c By the following Lines of Dryden, however, the White Witch seems to have a strong 
hankering after mischief: 

" At least as little honest as he could, 
And like white Witches mischievously good." 

Gaule, as cited before, says : " According to the vulgar conceit, distinction is usually made be- 
tween the white and the black Witch ; the good and the bad Witch. The Bad Witch they are wout to 
call him or her that workes Malefice or Mischiefe to the bodies of Men or Beasts : the Good Witch 
they count him or her that helps to reveale, prevent, or remove the same." 

Cotta, in " The Tryall of Witch-craft," p. 60. says, " This kinde is not obscure, at this day 
swarming in this kingdom, whereof no man can be ignorant, who lusteth to observe the uncon- 
trouled Liberty and License of open and ordinary resort in all places unto Wise-Men and Wise* 
Women, so vulgarly termed for their reputed knowledge concerning such diseased persons as are 
supposed to be bewitched." 

The same author, in his " Short Discoverie of unobserved Dangers, &c." 4to. Lond. 1612. p. 71 . 
says : " the mention of Witchcraft doth now occasion the remembrance in the next place of a 
sort of practitioners whom our custome and country doth call Wise Men and Wise Women, 
reputed a kind of good and honest harmles Witches or Wizards, who by good Words, by hallowed 
Herbes, and Salves, and other superstitious Ceremonies, promise to allay and calme divels, practises 
of other Witches, and the forces of many Diseases." 

Perkins by Pickering, Svo. Cambr. 1610. p. 256. concludes with observing: " It were a thousand 
times better for the Land, if all Witches, but specially the Blessing Witch, might suffer death. 
Men doe commonly hate and spit at the damnifying Sorcerer, as unworthie to live among them, 
whereas they flie- unto the other in necessitie, they depend upon him as their God, and by this 
meanes, thousands are carried away to their finall confusion. Death therefore is the just and de- 
served portion of the Good Witch." 

Baxter, in his World of Spirits, p. 134. sneaks of those Men that tell men of things stolen and 
lost, and that shew men the face of a Thief in a Glass, and cause the Goods to be brought back, 
who are commonly called White Witches. When I lived, he says, at Dudley, Hodges, at Sedgley 
two miles off, was long and commonly accounted such a one. And when I lived at Kedermins- 
ter, one of my neighbours affirmed, that having his yarn stolen, he went to Hodges (ten miles 
off) and he told him that at such an hour he should have it brought home again, and put in at 
the Window, and so it was j and as I remember he shewed him the person's face in a Glass. Yet 

vet. ii. 3 B 


The third Species, as a mixture of white and black, are styled the Grey 
Witches; for they can both help and hurt d . 

I do not not think tliat Hodges made any known Contract with the Devil, but thought it an 
effect of Art." 

d King James in his Daenionology, p. 117. says that " Witches can raise Stormes and Tempests 
in the Aire, cither upon Sea or Land." The Lapland Witches, we are told, can send Winds to 
Sailors and take delight in nothing more than raising Storms and Tempests, which they effect by 
repeating certain Charms, and throwing up sand in the air*. 

The following passage is from Scot's Discovery, p. 33. " No one endued with common sense but 
will deny that the Elements are obedient to Witches and at<heir commandment, or that they may, 
at their pleasure, send Rain, Hail, Tempests, Thunder, Lightning ; when she, being but an old 
doting Woman, casteth a Flint-stone over her left shoulder, towards the West, or hurleth a little 
Sea-sand up into the Element, or wetteth a Broom-sprig in Water, and sprinkleth the same in the 
Air ; or diggeth a pit in the Earth, and putting Water therein, stirreth it about with her finger ; or 
hoileth Hog's Bristles, or layeth Sticks across upon a Bank, where never a drop of Water is : or 
buryeth Sage till it be rotten : all which things are confessed by Witches, and affirmed by Writers 
to be the means that Witches use, to move extraordinary Tempests and Rain." 

" Ignorance," says Osbourne in his Advice to his Son, 8vo. Oxf. 1656. " reports of Witches that 
they are unable to hurt till they have received an Almes : which, though ridiculous in itselfe, yet 
in this sense is verified, that Charity seldom goes to the Gate but it meets with Ingratitude." 
p. 94. 

Spotiswood, as cited by Andrews in his Continuation of Henry's Hist, of Great Britain, p. 503, 

* The Laplanders, says Scheffer, have a Cord tied with Knots for the raising of the Wind; They, as Ziegler 
relates it, tye their magical knots in this Cord ; when they untye the first, there blows a favourable Gale of 
Wind; when the second, a brisker ; when the third, the Sea and Wind grow mighty, stormy, and tempestuou*. 
This, he adds, that we have reported concerning the Laplanders, does not in fact belong to them, but to the 
^'inlanders of Norway, because no other Writers mention it, and because the Laplanders live in an inland Coun- 
try. However, the method of selling Winds is this : " They deliver a small Rope with three Knots upon it, witk 
this caution, that when they loose the first they shall have a good Wind; if the second, a stronger; if the third, 
such a Storm will arise that they can neither see how to direct the Ship and avoid Rocks, or so much as stand 
upon the Decks, or handle the tackling." 

Fomponius Mela, who wrote in the reign of the Emperor Claudius, (P. Mela. III. c. 6.) mentions a set of Priest- 
esses in the Island of Sena, or the Isle des Saints, on the Coast of Gaul, who were thought to have the quality, 
like the above Laplanders, or rather Finlanders, of troubling the Sea and raising the Winds by their En- 
chantments, being, however, subservient only to sea-faring people, and only to such of them as come on purpose 
to consult them. 

Ranulph Higden, irt the Polychronicon, p. 195. tells us that the Witches in the Isle of Man antiently sold 
Winds to Mariners and delivered them in Knots tied upon aThread, exactly as the Laplanders did. 

Tfie power of confining and bestowing is attributed to Eolus in the Odyssey. Calypso, in other places of the 
same work, is supposed to have been able to confer favourable Winds. See Gent. Mag. for Jan. 1763. vol. xxxiii. 
p. 13. with the Signature of T. Row. [the late Dr. Pegge.] 


Thus the end and effect of Witchcraft seems to be sometimes good and some- 
times the direct contrary. In the first case the sick are healed, thieves are be- 
wrayed, and true men come to their goods. In the second, Men, Women, Chil- 
dren, or Animals, as also Grass, Trees, or Corn, &c. are hurt. 

The mode of becoming a Witch, according to Grose, is as follows 8 : a decre- 
pid superannuated old Woman is tempted by a Man in black to sign a Contract 

jays, " In the North," (of Britain) there were " Matron-like Witches and ignorant Witches." It 
was to one of the superior sort that Satan, being pressed to kill James the sixth, thus excused him- 
self in French, " II est homme de Dieu." 

Camden, in his antient and modern Manners of the Irish, says : " If a Cow becomes dry, a Witcli 
is applied to, who inspiring her with a fondness for some other Calf, makes her yield her Milk." 
Cough's Camden, vol. iii. p. 659. He tells us, Ibid. " The women who are turned off (by their 
Husbands) have recourse to Witches, who are supposed to inflict barrenness, impotence, or the most 
dangerous diseases on the former Husband, or his new Wife." Also, " They account every Woman 
who fetches fire on May Day a Witch, nor will they give it to any but sick persons, and that wilh 
an Imprecation, believing she will steal all the butter next Summer. On May Day they kill all Hares 
they find among their Cattle, supposing them the old Women who have Designs on the Butter. 
They imagine the butter so stolen may be recovered, if they take some of the Thatch hanging over 
the door and burn it." 

e " A Witch," (as I read in the curious Tract intitled ' Round about our Coal-Fire, 1 ) " according 
to my Nurse's account, must be a bagged old Woman, living in a little rotten Cottage, under a Hill, 
by a Wood-side, and must be frequently spinning at the door : she must have a black Cat, two or 
three Broom-sticks, an Imp or two, and two or three diabolical Teats to suckle her Imps. She must 
be of so dry a Nature, that if you fling her into a River, she will not sink : so hard then is her 
Fate, that, if she is to undergo the Trial, if she does not drown, she must be burnt, as many have 
been within the memory of Man." 

The subsequent, from one of our English Poets, occurs in Cotgrave's English Treasury of Wit 
and Language, p. 298 : 

" Thus Witches 

Possess'd, ev'n in their Death deluded, say 
They have been Wolves and Dogs, and sail'd in Egge-shels * 
Over the Sea, and rid on fiery Dragons, 
Pass'd in the Air more than a thousand Miles 
All in a Night : the Enemy of Mankind 
So pow'rfull, but false and Falshood confident." 

The Connoisseur, No. 109. says, it is a common notion that a Witcli can make a Voyage to the East Indies 
in an Egg-shell, or take a Journey of two or three hundred miles across the Country on a Broomstick. 


to become his, both Soul and Body. On the conclusion of the Agreement 1 , he 
gives her a piece of Money, and causes her to write her name and make her 
mark on a slip of parchment with her own blood. Sometimes also on this oc- 
casion the Witch uses the ceremony of putting one hand to the sole of her foot, 
and the other to the crown of her head. On departing, he delivers to her an 
Imp, or Familiars. The Familiar, in the shape of a Cat, or Kitten, a Mole, Mil- 
ler-fly, or some other Insect or Animal, at stated times of the day, sucks her 
blood, through Teats on different parts of her body b . There is a great variety 
of the Names of these Imps or Familiars. 

The Sabbath of Witches is a meeting to which the Sisterhood, after having 

Heath, in his History of the Scilly Islands, p. 120. tells us, " Some few of the Inhabitants of the 
Scilly Islands imagine, (but mostly old women,) that Women with Child and the first born are 
exempted from the power of Witchcraft. 

f In making these Bargains, it is said, there was sometimes a great deal of haggling. The Sum 
given to bind the Bargain was sometimes a Groat, at other times Half-a-Crown. 

8 In Cotgrave's Treasury of Wit and Language, p. 2G3. we read : 

" Thou art a Soldier, 

Followest the great Duke, feed'st his Victories, 
As Witches do their serviceable Spirits, 
Even with thy prodigal blood." 

In the Relation of the Swedish Witches, at the end of Glanvil's " Sadducismus Triumphatus/' 
we are told that the Devil gives them a Beast about the bigness and shape of a young Cat, which 
they call a Carrier. What this Carrier brings they must receive for the Devil. These Carriers fill 
themselves so full sometimes, that they are forced to spew by the way, which spewing is found in 
several Gardens where Colworts grow, and not far from the Houses of those Witches. It is of a yel- 
low Colour like Gold, and is called ' Butter of Witches'." p. 494. Probably this is the same substance 
which is called in Northumberland Fairy Butter. See p. 339. 

h In " A Discourse of Witchcraft," MS. communicated by John Pinkerton, Esq. written by Mr. 
John Bell, Minister of the Gospel at Gladsmuir, 1705. p. 23. on the subject of Witches Marks, I 
read as follows : " This mark is sometimes like a little Teate ; sometimes like a blewish spot : and 
I myself have seen it in the body of a confessing Witch like a little powder mark of a blea colour, 
somewhat hard, and withal insensible, so as it did not bleed when I pricked it." 

From the " News from Scotland, &c." 1591. (a Tract which will be more fully noticed here- 
after,) it appears that having tortured in vain a suspected Witch with " the Pilliwinckes upon her 
fingers, which is a grievous torture, and binding or wrenching, her head with a cord or rope, which 
ie a most cruel torture also, they, upon search, found the Enemy's mark to be in her Forecrag, or 
forepart of her throat, and then she confessed all." In another the Devil's mark was found upon her 


been anointed with certain magical Ointments, provided by their infernal 
Leader, are supposed to be carried through the Air, on Brooms, Coul staves, 
Spits, &c. ' 

At these meetings they have feastings, musick, and dancing, the Devil himself 
condescending to play at them on the Pipes or Cittern. 

privities. Dr. Flan was by the King's command consigned on this occasion, " to the horrid Tor- 
ment of the Boots," and afterwards strangled, and burnt on the Castle-hill, Edinburgh, on a Sa- 
turday in the end of January 1591. 

4 Butler, in his Hudibras, Part I. Canto iii. 1. 105. has the following on this subject ; 
" Or trip it o'er the Water quicker 
Than Witches when their Staves they liquor, 
As some report." 

Reginald Scot, in his Discovery of Witchcraft, B. iii. c. i. p. 40. speaking of the vulgar opinion 
of Witches flying, observes that " the Devil teacheth them to make Ointment of the bowels and 
members of Children, whereby they ride in the Air and accomplish all their desires. After burial 
they steal them out of their Graves and seeth them in a Cauldron, till the Flesh be made potable, 
cf which they make an Ointment, by which they ride in the air." Wierus exposes the folly of this 
Opinion in his Book de Preestigiis Daemonum, proving it to be a diabolical Illusion, and to be acted 
only in a Dream. And it is exposed as such by Oldham, (Works, 6th edit. p. 254.) t 
" As Men in sleep, though motionless they lie 
Fledg'd by a Dream, believe they mount and flye ; 
So Witches some inchanted Wand bestride, 
And think they through the airy Regions ride." 

See more authorities in the Notes upon Hudibras. Part III. Canto i. L411. 412. Grey's Notes on 
Shakespear, vol. ii. p. 140. 

Lord Verulam tells us that "the Ointment that Witches use, is reported to be made of the Fat 
of Children digged out of their Graves ; of the Juices of Smallage, Wolf-Bane, and Cinqe-Foil, 
mingled with the meal of fine Wheat : but I suppose the soporiferous medicines are likest to do it, 
which are Hen-bane, Hemlock, Mandrake, Moon-shade, or rather Night-shade, Tobacco, Opium, 
Saffron, Poplar-leaves, &c." 

There had been about the time of Lord Verulam no small stir concerning Witchcraft. Ben 
Jonson, says Dr. Percy, has left us a Witch Song which contains an extract from the various Incan- 
tations of classic Antiquity. Some learned Wise-acres had just before busied themselves on this 
subject, with our British Solomon, James the first, at their head. And these had so ransacked all 
Writers antient and modern, and so blended and kneaded together the several superstitions of 
different times and nations, that those of genuine English growth could no longer be traced 
out and distinguished. 
The Witch Song in Macbeth is superior to this of Ben Jonson. The metrical Incantations in 


They afterwards proceed at these Assemblies to the grossest Impurities and 
Immoralities, and it may be added Blasphemies, as the Devil sometimes preaches 
to them a mock Sermon b . 

They afterwards open Graves for the purpose of taking out Joints of the Fin- 
gers and Toes of dead Bodies, with some of the Winding Sheet, in order to 
prepare a Powder for their magical purposes. Here also the Devil distributes 
Apples, Dishes, Spoons, or other trifles, to those Witches who desire to tor- 

Middleton's " Witch" are also very curious. As the Play is exceedingly rare, the following is given 
as a specimen of his Incantations : 

"1 Witch. Here's the Blood of a Bat. 

Hec. Put in that, oh put in that. 

2. Here's Libbard's Bane. 

Hec. Put in againe. 

1 . The Juice of Toade, the Oile of Adder. 

2. Those will make the yonker madder. 
Hec. Put in : thers all, and rid the stench. 
Firestone. Nay here's three ounces of the red-hair'd Wench. 
All. Round, around, around, &c." 

The Witches Cauldron is thus described by Olaus Magnus : " Olla autem omnium Maleficarum 
commune solet esse Instrunientum, quo succos, herbas, venues, et exta decoquant, atque ea vene- 
fica dape ignavos ad vota alliciunt, et instar bullientis Ollae, Navium & Equitum aut Cursorum ex- 
citant Celeritatem." Olai Magni Gent. Septentr. Hist. Brevis. p. 96. 

* Butler has an allusion to something of this kind in Mudibras, Part. III. Canto i. 1. 983. 
" And does but tempt them with her Riches 
To use her as the Devil does Witches ; 
Who takes it for a special Grace 
To be their Cully for a space, 
That when the times expir'd the drazels 
For ever may become his Vassals. 

The Sabbath of the Witches is supposed to be held on a Saturday: when the Devil is by some 
said to appear in the shape of a Goat, about whom several Dances and magic Ceremonies are per- 
formed. Before the Assembly breaks up the Witches are all said to have the honour of saluting 
Satan's posteriors. See King James's Remarks on this subject in his " Daemonology." Satan is 
reported to have been so much out of humour at some of these meetings, that, for his diversion he 
would beat the Witches black and blue with the Spits and Brooms, the vehicles of their Transporta- 
tion, and play them divers other unlucky tricks. 
There is a Scottish Proverb, " Ye breed of the Witches, Ye can do nae good to your sel." 


ment any particular person, to whom they must present them. Here also, for 
similar purposes, the Devil baptizes waxen Images m . 

m King James, in his Daemonology, Book ii. chap. 5. tells us that '' the Devil teacheth how 
to make pictures of Wax or Clay, that, by roasting thereof, the persons that they bear the name 
of may be continually melted, or dried away by continual sickness." 

See Servius on the Sth Eclogue of Virgil. Theocritus, Idyl. ii. 22. Hudibras, P. II. Canto ii. 
1. 351. 
Ovid says: " Devovet absentes, simulachraque cerea tigit 

Et miserum tenues in jecur urget acus." Heroid. 1. 91. 

See also Grafton's Chronicle, p. 587. where it is laid to the charge (among others) of Roger 
Bolinbrook, a cunning Necromancer, and Margery Jordane, the cunning Witch of Eye, that 
they at the request of Eleanor, Dutchess of Gloucester, had devised an Image of Wax representing 
the King, (Henry VI.) which by their sorcejy a little and little consumed : intending thereby in 
conclusion to waste and destroy the King's person. Shakspeare mentions this Hen. VI. P. II. 
Act i. sc. 4. 

It appears from Strype's Annals of the Reformation, vol. i. p. 8. under Anno 1558. that Bishop 
Jewel, preaching before the Queen, said : " It may please your Grace to understand that Witches 
and Sorcerers within these few last years are marvelously increased within your Grace's realm. 
Your Grace's subjects pine away, even unto the death, their colour fadeth, their flesh rotteth, 
their speech is benumbed, their senses are bereft. I pray God they never pracfae further then upon 
the subject." " This," Strype adds, " I make no doubt was the occasion of bringing in a Bill, the 
next Parliament, for making Enchantments and Witchcraft Felony." One of the Bishop's strong 
expressions is, " These eyes have seen most evident and manifest marks of their wickedness*." 

Andrews, in his Continuation of Henry's History of Great Britain, 4to. p. 93. tells us, speaking 
of Ferdinand, Earl of Derby, who in the reign of Queen Elizabeth died by poison, " The credu- 
lity of the age attributed his death to Witchcraft. The Disease was odd, and operated as a per- 
petual emetic, and a waxen Image, with hair like that of the unfortunate Earl, found in his Cham- 
ber, reduced every suspicion to certainty." 

" The Wife of Marshal D'Ancre was apprehended, imprisoned, and beheaded for a Witch, upon 
a surmise that she had enchanted the Queen to doat upon her husband : and they say, the young 
King's picture was found in her closet, in virgin wax, with one leg melted away. When asked by 

* It appears from the same work, vol. iv. p. 7. sub anno 1589. that " one Mrs. Dier had practised conjuration 
against the Queen, to work some mischief to her Majesty : for which she was brought into question : and ac- 
cordingly her Words and Doings were sent to Popham the Queen's Attorney and Egerton her Solicitor by Wal- 
liugham the Secretary and SirThomas Heneage her Vice Chamberlain, for their Judgement, whose opinien was 
that Mrs. Dier was not within the compass of the Statute touching Witchcraft, for that she did no act, and spake 
certain lewd speeches tending to that purpose but neither set figure nor made pictures." Ibid. vol. ii. p. 545- 
sub anno 1578. Strype says : " Whether it were the effect of Magic, or proceeded from some natural cause, but 
the Queen was in some part of this year under excessire anguish by fains of her Teeth : insomuch that she took 
no rest for divers nights, and endured very great torment night and day." 


Sometimes Witches content themselves with a revenge less than mortal, caus- 
ing the objects of their hatred to swallow Pins, crooked Nails", Dirt, Cinders, 

her Judges what spells she had made use of to gain so powerful an ascendancy over the Queen, she 
replied, ' that ascendancy only which strong minds ever gain over weak ones'." Seward's Anecdotes 
of some distinguished Persons, &c. vol. iii. p. 215. 

Blagrave, in his Astrological Practice of Physick, p. 89. observes that " the wajr which the 
Witches usually take for to afflict Man or Beast in this kind, is, as I conceive, done by Image or 
Model, made in the likeness of that Man or Beast they intend to work mischief upon, and by the 
subtilty of the Devil made at such hours and times when it shall work most powerfully upon them 
by thorn, pin, or needle, pricked into that Limb or Member of the Body afflicted." 
This is farther illustrated by a passage in one of Daniel's Sonnets : 
" The slie Inchanter, when to work his will 
And secret wrong on some forspoken wight. 
Frames Waxe, in forme to represent aright 
The poore unwitting wretch he meanes to kill, 
And prickes the Image, fram'd by Magick's skill, 
Whereby to vex the partie Day and Night." 

Son. 10. from Poems and Sonnets annexed to Astrophil and Stella. 4to. (1591.) 
Again, in Diaria, or the excellent conceitful Sonnets of H. C. (Henry Constable) 1594. 
" Witches which some murther do intend 

Doe make a Picture and doe shoote at it ; 
And in that part where they the Picture hit, 
The Parties self doth languish to his end." Decad. II. Son. ii. 

Coles, in his Art of Simpling, &c. p. 66. says that Witches " take likewise the Roots of Man- 
drake, according to some, or as I rather suppose the Roots of Briony, which simple folke take for 
the true Mandrake, and make thereof an ugly Image, by which they represent the person on 
whom they intend to exercise their Witchcraft." He tells us, Ibid. p. 26. " Some Plants have 
Roots with a number of threds, like beards, as Mandrakes, whereof Witches and Impostors make 
an ugly Image, giving it the form of the face at the top of the root, and leave those strings to 
make a broad Beard down to the feet." 

n It was a supposed Remedy against Witchcraft to put some of the bewitched person's water, 
with a quantity of Pins, Needles, and Nails into a Bottle, cork them up and set them before the 
Fire, in order to confine the Spirit : but this sometimes did not prove sufficient, as it would often 
force the Cork out with a loud noise, like that of a Pistol, and cast the contents of the Bottle to a 
considerable height. 

Bewitched persons were said to fall frequently into violent Fits and to vomit Needles, Pins, 
Stones, Nails, Stubbs, Wool, and Straw. See Trusler's Hogarth Moralized. Art. Medley. 

It is related in the Life of Lord Keeper Guildford, p. 131. that when his Lordship was upon the 
Circuit at Taunton Dean, he detected an Imposture and Conspiracy against an old Man charged 


and trash of all sorts : or by drying up their Co\vs and killing their Oxen : or 
by preventing Butter from coming in the Churn : or Beer from working. Some- 
times, to vex Squires, Justices, and Country-Parsons, fond of hunting, they 
change themselves into Hares, and elude the speed of the fleetest Dogs". 

with having bewitched a Girl of about thirteen years of age, who, during pretended convulsions, 
took crooked Pins into her mouth and spit them afterwards into Bye-staniler's hands *. " As the 
Judge went down stairs out of the Court, an hideous old Woman cried ' God bless your worship ;' 
'What's the matter, good Woman ?' said the Judge. ' My Lord,' said she, ' forty years ago they 
would have hanged me for a Witch, and they could not ; and now they would have hang'd my 
poor Son.' 

The first Circuit his Lordship went Westward, Mr. Justice Rainsford, who had gone former cir- 
cuits there, went with him; and he said, that the year before, a Witch was brought to Salisbury, 
and tried before him. Sir James Long came to his Chamber and made a heavy complaint of this 
Witch, and said that if she escaped his Estate would not be worth any thing ; for all the people 
would go away. It happened that the Witch was acquitted, and the Knight continued extremely 
concerned : therefore the Judge, to save the poor Gentleman's Estate, ordered the Woman to be 
kept in Gaol, and that the Town should allow her 2 sh. 6d. a week : for which he was very thank- 
ful. The very next Assizes he came to the Judge to desire his Lordship would let her come back 
to the Town. And why ? They could keep her for one shilling and sixpence there : and in the 
Gaol she cost them a shilling more." p. 130. 

n In antient times even the pleasures of the Chace were checked by the superstitions concerning 
Witchcraft. Thus, in Scot's Discovery, p. 152. " That never Hunters nor their Dogs may be be- 
witched, they cleave an oaken branch, and both they and their Dogs pass over it." 

Warner, in his Topographical Remarks relating to the South-Western Parts of Hampshire, 8vo. 
Lond. 1793. vol. i. p. 241. mentioning Mary Dore, the "parochial Witch of Beaulieu/' who died 
about half a century since, says, " her Spells were chiefly used for purposes of self-extrication in 
situations of danger ; and I have conversed with a rustic whose Father had seen the old Lady con- 
vert herself more than once into the form of a Hare, or Cat, when likely to be apprehended 
in wood-stealing, to which she was somewhat addicted." 

Butler, in his Hudibras, Part III. Canto iii. 1. 339. says, speaking of the Witch-Finder, that, of 

Witches some be hanged 

" for putting knavish tricks 

Upon Green Geese and Turkey-Chicks, 
Or Pigs, that, suddenly deceas't 
Of griefs, unnat'ral as he guest." 

* Jordcn, in his curious Treatise of the Suffocation of the Mother, &c. 4to. Lond. 1603. p. 24. says : " Ano- 
ther policie Marcellus Donatus tells us of, which a physition used towardes the Countesse of Mantua, wh 
being in that disease which we call Melaacholia Hypochondriaca, did verily believe that she was bewitched, 
anj was cured by conveying of Nayles, Needles, Feathers, and such like things into her Close-stoole when she 
took Physicke, making her believe that they came out of her bodie." 

VOL. II. 3 C 


In vexing the parties troubled, Witches are visible to them only : some- 
times such parties act on the defensive against them, striking at them with a 
Knife, &c. 

Preventatives, according to the popular belief, are scratching, or pricking a 
Witch : taking the Wall of her in a Town or Street, and the right hand of her 

Henry, in his History of Great Britain, 4to. vol. i. p. 99. mentions Pomponius Mela, as describ- 
ing a Druidical Nunnery, which, he says, was situated in an Island in the British Sea, and con- 
tained nine of these venerable Vestals, who pretended that they could raise Storms and Tempests 
by their Incantations ; could cure the most incurable Diseases ; could transform themselves into 
all kinds of Animals ; and foresee future Events." 

For another superstitious notion relating to the Inchantment of Witchcraft, see, Lupton's First 
Book of Notable Things, Svo. edit. 1660. p. 20. No. 8<2. See also Guil. Varignana, and Arnoldus 
de Villa Nova. 

It \vas a part of the system of Witchcraft that drawing blood from a Witch rendered her En- 
chantments ineffectual, as appears from the following authorities. In Glanville's Account of the 
Daemon of Tedworth, speaking of a Boy that was bewitched, he says, the Boy drew towards Jane 
Brooks, the woman who had bewitched him, who was behind her two Sisters, and put his hand 
upon her, which his father perceiving, immediately scratched her face and drew blood from her. 
The youth, then cry'd out that he was well." Blow at Modern Sadducism, 12mo. 1663. p. 148. 

In the First Part of Shakspeare's Henry the sixth, Act i. sc. 10. Talbot says to the Pucelle 
d'Orleans : 

" I'll have a bout with the 

Devil or Devil's Dam, I'll conjure thee, 
Blood will I draw on thee, thou art a Witch." 
Thus also in Butler's Hudibras : 

" Till drawing blood o' tlie Dames like Witches, 
They're forthwith cur'd of their Capriches." 

So, also, in Cleveland's Rebel Scot : 

" Scots are like Witches, do but whet your Pen, 
Scratch till the blood come, they'll not hurt you then." 

This curious doctrine is very fully investigated in Hathaway 's Trial, published in the State Trials. 
The following passage is in Arise Evans's Echo to the Voice from Heaven. Svo. Lond. 1C52. p 34. 
" I had heard some say, that when a Witch had power over one to afflict him, if he could but draw 
one drop of tlie Witches blood, the Witch would never after do him hurt." 

Coles, in his Art of Simpling, p. 67. observes that " if one hang Misletoe about their neck, the 
Witches can have no power of him. The Roots of Angelica doe likewise availe m'ich in the same 
case, if a Man carry them about him, as Fuchsius saith." 

; ((;:;!.-. *.!'.:. - : - i: >.:' '; via f-i :.'..:.'..-.; , '-1 *oJ 


in a Lane or Field : while passing her, by clenching both hands, doubling the 

In the Song of " The Laidley Worm," in the Northuinb. Garland, p. 63. we read ; 

" The Spells were vain ; the Hag returnes 

To the Queen in sorrowful mood, 
Crying that Witches have no power 
Where there is Rown-tree wood !" 

Butler, in Hudibras, says of his Conjurer that he could 
" Chase evil Spirits away by dint 
Of Cickle, Horse-shoes, hollow Flint." 

Part II. Canto iii. 1. 291. 

Aubrey tells us, in his Miscellanies, p. 148. that " it is a thing very common to nail Horse-shoes 
on the Thresholds of Doors : which is to hinder the power of Witches that enter into the House. 
Most Houses of the West end of London have the Horse-shoe on the Threshold. It should be a 
Horse-shoe that one finds. In the Bermudas they use to put an Iron into the Fire when a Witch 
comes in. Mars is enemy to Saturn." He says, ibid. " under the porch of Staninfield Church in 
Suffolk, I saw a Tile with a Horse-shoe upon it, placed there for this purpose, though one would 
imagine that Holy Water would alone have been sufficient. I am told there are